I found this quote by Margaurete Duras appealing and up for interpretation. She says life is immortal while “it” is still alive. Everyone of us feels invincible in a sense until a moment comes of tragedy or ill diagnosis. The illustration and words were thought provoking, I hope someone enjoys it as I did.


Death Denying Society

Susan Jacoby struck a chord in my mind when explaining how she took “immense comfort” knowing her mother’s wishes to leave this world. During such a stressful time at end of life stages even a little comfort can make a tremendous difference. Irma Jacoby seemed to be an intelligent, matter of fact woman. She spared her family and herself as much stress as possible by having advanced directives and knowing exactly what she wanted. I believe it is our duty to take OUR life into our own hands for an assortment of reason. Living wills and advanced directives are significant tools that as Americans we fail to utilize. Our death denying culture feels inevitable or resistant to the fact that yes, we are all going to die. We need to take action and make Advanced Directives and even take that a step further. We need to make sure we communicate those wishes to a spouse or close loved one and be sure they know where important documents are stored.
Families have a significant role in a patient’s life, they carry out wishes when maybe someone is no longer competent or provide documentation of those wishes. A patient’s family knows that individual on a personal level and can navigate situations with medical staff as a team. I think questions to the medical staff or doctor should be welcomed as long as both parties are respectful and can come to an agreement. The scenario given in this article is traumatizing in the classic situation of two children arguing whether to take their Mother off of her life-sustaining respirator. In a time of such intense emotions a Mother wouldn’t want her children battling it out on what choice to make and what the medical team may or may not be suggesting. The cost of keeping her on the life support those extra weeks cost the family $20,000. Now of course there is no price on your parent’s life but the lack of preparation has emotional and financial implications.
The baby boomer generation is only getting older and the fact that technology is allowing people to live longer may lead to some complications. Our American society denies death and not everyone is as prepared as Irma. So are we to do with such an influx of end of life patients living off machines with no advanced directives? It is everyone’s job to inform our families and make time for preparation of our own lives because we all know how sudden life can change.

Modern Medicine

Modern Medicine

Does today’s modern medicine make for a better ending? The answer to this question is far from concrete with infinite variables at the end of life. This article gave a raw perspective of people on their journey and its closure. It was not only eye-opening but unique to give these scenario’s through a doctor’s eyes. The doctor’s weight of delivering critical news to patients are rarely considered, not to mention how carefully they may have to manage sensitive situations with patients.
It is a matter of quality versus quantity and the almighty taboo topic of death. Modern medicine prolongs life, no one can deny that fact but is it a life you would want to live? When you ask someone how they want to die they typically say quick and painless, not the latter. The story of Sara Monopoli was a whirlwind of emotions. I admire her strength and fight through various chemotherapy treatments and new drug trials. Her will to live was very strong but unfortunately she had to succumb to the disease. It was a gut wrenching battle for herself and her family. At what point do you give in? Everyone wants to die in their sleep but if not are any of us courageous enough to say enough is enough. No one knows what their limit is or how they will feel until they are in a terminally ill situation. I must say reading this article was amazing but makes me hope I will have the strength to let myself go when the time comes.
On the other hand, you have the 29 year old young man with an inoperable brain tumor. He chose to go without treatment and to enjoy his time left with his family “untainted” if you will, like back in a period where people did die sooner than later. In comparison to Sara’s story, the young man’s choice was much more favorable on many accounts with an absence of medication. He didn’t witness himself deteriorate severely and neither did his family. Meanwhile, Sara’s husband Rich will never forget the groans of her last breaths before the ambulance came to take her away for her death.
I am an absolute proponent for fighting for your life but there reaches a point where maybe medicine isn’t the best option. Medicine should possibly save you life and keep you comfortable in the last days but the question the doctor posed which was an “aha” moment in the article was– “ What is dying anymore?” He didn’t know how to answer that question himself, nor would anyone else.

To Live On – Min Jeong Seo

To Live On - Min Jeong Seo

The stalks these flowers are already dried up but their blossoms are preserved and kept fresh by the medical infusion bags. The life-span of every living creature is limited.The infusion bags stand for the progress in medicine and the prolongation of human life.They somehow carry an ambivalent message as they refer to both death and life an the same time. Both states are immanent here. To preserve the beauty of the flowers artificially with the help of the infusion bags points out man’s inclination to repress the fact having to die and to postpone death

Min Jeong Seo – To Live On, 2005

The Green Mile


                   John Coffey is a gentle giant and main character of The Green Mile that endures prison and ultimate execution for trying to use his “God-like” healing powers. In the midst of John trying to revive these girls he was found guilty, unjustly blamed for their rape and murder. John Coffey’s odds were stacked against him being a  black man in Louisiana during the 1930’s. Meanwhile, the actual murderer was in the cell across from him throughout the movie, taunting him. The Green Mile initially comes to mind because death circulates throughout this film. 

                Coffey’s supernatural powers play a powerful spiritual role (without being overpowering) in a religious sense for those who choose to see it. As discussed in class how do you define a soul or someone’s spirit? A theme of the film is good versus evil, among criminals and even some of his captors John still used his powers for the overall good. As provided in the clip, Mr. Jingles was the beloved pet of one of a pitiful prisoners. Percy, an evil security officer on the mile stomped Mr. Jingles dead. Miraculously John mustered up all of his energy and healed the pet mouse leaving the guards and inmates astonished . It shows Coffey releasing the “death” of Mr. Jingles as fly like insects escape his mouth and Mr. Jingles is revived. This particular part in the movie sends a message of denying death, that irreversibility factor isn’t honored. We all wish our childhood pet Spot or Snuggles could have been revived by Coffey. 

                Coffey also uses his power to heal a woman of cancer and one of the security officer’s urinary tract infection played by Tom Hanks. This films sends mixed messages in regards to the language about death. The super natural element of healing definitely denies death. No touch can cure cancer or bring back pets but ultimately John Coffey cannot escape execution. He dies an innocent mean which sends a strong message of the harsh reality life can offer.