Coming Together

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When I first decided to take this class I thought it was going to be an easy class that I was taking for fun. A week before classes started I found out that a close friend of mine had been shot and killed the night before after we had left Applebees. That moment rocked my hold world and made me have a different view of this class. I came into this class more confused about death then I have ever been. The only other death I had experienced was that of my grandpa whom I was never really close with because of family issues. When my friend died I truly felt the pain that i’ve heard so much about because I had a strong connection with him. I remember walking into the funeral home and just seeing people everywhere crying. At that point in time I realized what an impact a death can have on those around us. At times it may seem like nobody cares about us and that we have no one to turn to, but in that funeral home I saw how many people showed up to pay their respects to my friend and realized that we have more people that care about us than we think.

My friends death was acknowledged, but his life was celebrated. The impact he had on others went unnoticed until he died and people reflected on him. This shows that death, no matter how terrible a tragedy, brings people together to recognize the impact a person had on them. There may not be many things that can help console a family through a death of a child, but my friends family was at ease because of their faith in God. They believe that because my friend loved God with all his heart that he is up in heaven watching over all of us and does not want us to grieve for him. Religion is a powerful tool in helping people overcome the grimness of death because it provides comfort in knowing that their spirit lives on and his watching over them.

By taking this class I have learned that it is important to find something or someone that can help prepare and console us during the death of a loved one. Even though we may not understand death, it is important that we shift our focus to the impact that our loved ones leave behind and how that impact will shape our future. My friend has personally impacted my life by encouraging me to always be a better person and to put others first. Even though a person has passed, their memories never die.

EOL Decisions

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End of life decisions are often put to the side until it is too late for a person to make those decisions on their own. Part of the reason why end of life decisions are put on the back-burner is because people do not like to face the reality that their death is coming upon them. People like to avoid the subject because it is easier to ignore death than to face it. By ignoring death it makes the process harder on families when there is no advance directive in place to tell everyone how they want their body disposed of or what to do incase they cannot make their own decisions anymore. By having an advance directive, a person can decide in advance what they would want to be done once they die or if they become unable to make decisions on their own. In many cases, having an advance directive prevents family disputes because members of a patients family will not argue over what they want to be done because you have already written it in your advance directive. 

By planning early, patients are presented an opportunity to consult with their health care providers and personal physicians. This can help the patient understand what treatments will be given to them and whether or not they want to endure those treatments if it will only just prolong death. In many cases people choose Do Not Resuscitate because they know that no treatment can cure them and they would rather die peacefully than undergo numerous treatments. This also helps to reduce financial stress on families because the extra treatments can add up to thousands of dollars. It is up to the patient to question what is being done to them and if it is really worth it to undergo all the extra treatments and procedures.

Ultimately, a person should plan in advance what they want their end of life decisions to be in order  to relieve the stress during the end of life process. Every person has the right to choose how they want to undergo the end of life process and it is their responsibility to talk to their health care providers for advice and recommendations on how to deal with the situation, and the realistic chance of survival. Advance directives can effectively make the end of life process a lot easier on not only the patient but also their family, and should be looked into more often.

“Letting Go”

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One of the hardest things a person can do in their life is knowing when it is time to let go. This can either mean, letting go of themselves or of a loved one. Modern medicine, with all if its breakthroughs, still has gray areas where it can not completely cure someone. This was evident in the article “Letting Go”. In times of trauma, people often believe that medicine has all the answers to save someones life. In the article it is shown that although medicine can prolong someones life, it could not save them.

When medicine cannot save your life it can still provide you with the opportunity to prolong your life as much as you desire. The main conflict that arises is that often times the doctors may not tell patients that they have little chance of survival because that may cause them even more emotional pain which can lead to a quicker death. When doctors do not tell patients of the extent of the diagnosis it can cause the patients and their families to spend thousands of treatments that do nothing more than prolong one’s life for more than a few months. If I was a dying patient it would be hard for me to decide if I would rather prolong my life or not because I have never been in that situation before. There are many factors to look at: 1. I can prolong my life and cause my family to go into debt by paying for treatments, 2. I can choose to die and miss out on time I could be spending with my family and loved ones. 

Personally I think the best thing for a person to do is to analyze before they have an accident or something about what they would do in a life or death situation. To choose to die is a very personal decision and should be left to the patient to decide. After doing this, and a person who then becomes a dying patient should talk to their family and doctors to determine if there is even a realistic chance of them getting healed or if they are just prolonging the inevitable.  If there is no realistic chance of survival and treatments are expensive it may be better for a person to consult their family of “Letting Go” and freeing their family of the financial and emotional burden.

In the end, death is inevitable and will come to all at some point. Determining if you are ready or not for that moment is something that a person will not be able to determine until they are in that position. Despite that fact, a person should think about it and consider what they would rather do from a very objective point of view. Doing this is not easy, but it is something that may benefit someone in the future. If medicine cannot save your life, it may at least provide with the chance to prolong your life long enough for you to say goodbye to your family and determine yourself if you are ready to move on.

In my family, both my Mom and Dad have told me that they would rather die than cause my family a financial burden if their was no chance of survival. To my parents, the point of their lives was to raise their kids to be successful and make a name for themselves. Knowing that they gave us that chance, they are prepared to die when that moment comes.

Remember The Titans

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In the modern world death is viewed in many different ways. Many people view death as “going away” of a loved one. This idea is challenged by death in the movie Remember The Titans. Remember The Titans is a story about a high school football during the early 1970s that overcame the barriers of segregation. In the beginning of the movie the town that the Titans play in is very criticizing of their efforts to integrate blacks and whites onto the same football team because it was never seen before. The Titans’ play throughout the season showed the world that different races could work together peacefully towards the same goal and ultimately even become close friends. 

At the end of the movie, it is shown that one of the main characters, Gerry Bertier, dies a few years after taking part in a serious car accident which left him paralyzed form the waist down. Gerry’s death was an important element in the movie which tied all of the efforts of the Titans together. Gerry’s death brought together whites and blacks years after the Titans had all left high school. This shows that even though they were not playing football anymore, the effects of what they accomplished in terms of racial integration had lasted over the years. Gerry’s death was the event that brought everyone back together. It is also shown at the funeral that Gerry’s mother who was completely against racial integration was holding hands with an African-American male named Julius who was Gerry’s best friend. 

The media portrays Gerry’s death as an event that ultimately brings everyone together despite their differences because they all have that common connection to Gerry. Even though they were off different races, they were similar to one another because of that common connection. Although death is often a time when people mourn, the media turned Gerry’s death into a time when the people of his hometown came together to pay their respects to him. This is how the media challenged the idea of death being the “going away” of a loved one because even though Gerry died, the narrator who is one of the characters as well, says that Gerry’s spirit lives in all of them and has brought them together as one.