In the end, people don't view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people's minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life maybe empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. — Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
For Next Time
Read these articles to prepare for the next workshop:
- Laine Bergeson, "Good Life, Good Death," Utne Reader, September/October 2005."Love and Death," a sermon preached by the Reverend Forrest Church (1948-2009).
- Anjula Rasdan, "Kickin' It," interview with Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball on grief and dying, American Style, Utne Reader, September/October 2005.Bring one or two personal objects representing who you are, what you values are, and what you want to pass on to family. If it works better, bring a photograph or something that represents the object.
Workshop 7 [date] will include presentations by professionals about advance directives, living wills, and end-of-life medical needs.
In Workshop 8 [date], you will be invited to share a creative work about death and dying, such as a photograph, drawing, painting, poem, prose, song, music, ceramic piece, dance, or some other creative expression.
Provide information about plans to visit a funeral home and cemetery or crematorium to learn about funeral preparations. Set a date for the field trip, if you have not done so already.
Find Out More
- Six Feet Under, HBO dramatic comedy series created and produced by Alan Ball. It features a California family who owns and operates a funeral home. Many public libraries have the DVDs.
- "Being Mortal," Frontline, PBS, February 10, 2015. This video documentary explores the intersection of life, death, medicine, and what matters in the end. This may be viewed free online.
- Holding Our Own, gentle, direct, and celebratory treatment of our final life passage. This video must be purchased from its producer, Fuzzy Slippers Productions..
- Love and Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow was the last book written by Unitarian Universalist minister Forrest Church (Beacon, 2009).