This New York Times article explains the common end-of-life symptoms. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/well/live/the-symptoms-of-dying.html
Chaim, the Hebrew word for “Life,” is structured in the form of a double plural. Just like yadaim, “hands,” and oznaim, “ears.” (And yes, mayim, “water,” has the same form). The single word for LIFE carries an intrinsic implication of two lives. Does it perhaps imply an internal and external reality? Does it speak to this life and a life hereafter?
These are the thoughts that circulate as I’ve been working on Yizkor candle settings.
Mishlei (Proverbs) 20:27 speaks of the soul: Ner Havaya Nishmat Adam—“The candle of Havaya is the soul of a human being.” In our tribal tradition, consequently, a candle has come to symbolize a soul. The yahrzeit candle brings the memory of a fragile life to the fore and accompanies that memory with the recognition of the continued life, in whatever form, of that beloved soul.
So, I have begun creating these Yizkor candle settings—a simple concept that provides a place setting for that memory candle with a kind of meditative focus that reinforces life. Made from copper and cedar, they are a small addition to the world of hidur mitzvah –“Beautification of the Connective Tissue between ourselves and the Source of our being.”
By Gussie Fauntleroy
If you’ve attended one of the beautifully sacred open-air cremations facilitated by the Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP), you may have said to yourself, “If I die,” (see how we tend to think?) “that’s the kind of send-off I’d like.” But CEOLP can only provide its services for area residents who have registered with the organization and whose completed papers are on file with CEOLP at the time of the registrant’s death.
The easiest way to register is to come to a CEOLP registration party. All the paperwork is there, a notary public is available for the required notarized pages, and CEOLP volunteers are on hand to answer questions. The next semi-annual registration party is set for Saturday, June 24, from 10 am to 1pm at Bob’s Café, next to the hardware store and across from the Crestone Mercantile in downtown Crestone. Tea and snacks will be provided. A $10 donation to CEOLP is requested for copying and filing costs, and there is a $10 fee (total) for the notarized pages, payable directly to the notary.
Also available to pick up will be the “5 Wishes” pamphlet, which can help guide your thinking and choices in medical, emotional, and spiritual end-of-life issues; and Colorado Hospital Association Patient’s Rights pamphlets, in English and Spanish. These two pamphlets are available free, thanks to a Saguache County Sales Tax Grant to Informed Final Choices, CEOLP’s sister organization dedicated to educational outreach. The pamphlets are not part of the CEOLP registration packet. But they are extremely useful in planning advance directives and stimulating important communication with family members, notes CEOLP founder Stephanie Gaines.
The value of advance directives and communicating your wishes with family and loved ones is stressed in a May 10 New York Times article, “We’re Bad at Death. Can We Talk?” by Dhruv Khullar, MD, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Here are important excerpts from that article:
“Two interventions have consistently been shown to help patients live their final days in accordance with their wishes: earlier conversations about their goals and greater use of palliative care services, which emphasize symptom control and greater psychological and spiritual well-being—and which recognize that longer survival is only part of what patients want.
“Patients who engage in advance care planning are less likely to die in the hospital or to receive futile intensive care. Family members have fewer concerns and experience less emotional trauma if they have the opportunity to talk about their loved one’s wishes. And earlier access to palliative care has consistently been linked to fewer symptoms, less distress, better quality of life—and sometimes longer lives.”
Looking ahead to the reality of mortality is important for all of us, at any stage of life. Which is why CEOLP provides services like the registration party, to make it easy to complete and file your registration paperwork if open-air cremation is the form of disposition you want. As Stephanie says, “There are seven days in the week, and someday is not one of them!”
For more information, call Denise at 256-4644, Lorraine at 937-7802 or visit informedfinalchoices.org and look under NEWS. A link to the full New York Times article quoted above is also available on informedfinalchoices.org. In addition, CEOLP will have an information booth at the Town of Crestone’s July 4 celebration. Come visit us!