Die in Peace, Die in Faith

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As demonstrated in the short story “Letting Go” by Atul Gawande, medicine has a hard time of knowing when to “let go” when it can no longer save you. Society puts a big emphasis today on prolonging life. However this infatuation leads to maintaining the quantity of life, rather than quality. Though intensive research is constantly undergone for terminal illnesses such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s etc., modern medicine has yet to find cures for such drastic diseases. Who says there are even cures possible for these terminal illnesses? I feel as a modern society we tend to take life for granted and fail to realize how short it can be. It is not until we are faced with a harsh and unfortunate reality that we truly appreciate the small details of waking up everyday…..such as the clouds in the sky, a smile from a child, or a laugh with friends.

As soon as we receive a devastatingly fatal diagnosis, we realize how quick life can change for the worse. We do all that is in our power to stop this “terminality” (terminal reality), trying everything in the medical books and research from new chemo therapies to phase-1 medications. We spend the last days of our lives trying to fight the inevitable when we should be appreciating what time we have left. After all possible trials have failed, and there is no site of relief from a disease such as cancer, the main focus should become enhancing the quality of life left. As hard as it is to do so, you must have a little FAITH in things. Everything happens for a reason, though it may not be what you have wished or planned. You can choose to either mope and be miserable about it, or learn and live with it. Have FAITH that this is not the end. Have Faith, Love and Peace in Dying. Instead of putting yourself and loved ones through numerous trials of possible failure that lead to emotional, physical, and financial burden, learn to say no. Learn to stop medicine from prolonging life to preserving the quality of life left. Learn to enjoy little things you have taken for granted before it is too late. Let all those you care about know that you love them, not to stress about your situation, and to have FAITH you all shall see each other again. Granted what I am explaining is easier said than done, but I rather die in complete PEACE surrounded by loved ones in my final stages, than being in pain and hooked up to numerous machines knowing there is no cure. Die in Peace and Die in Faith.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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Though the main concept of this movie doesn’t focus on death, it does occur in the movie. I think it is actually portrayed in a creatively different aspect in this particular movie. The main character, Benjamin Button, is played by the actor Brad Pitt. Benjamin Button is a “curious medical case” in that instead of being born young then growing old, Benjamin is actually born old and becomes younger as he ages. You would think this would be a wonderful thing, especially in this society as to so many people fear aging. However Button’s case is not as pleasant as expected. As the movie begins, its hard for him because he is this physically old man, but mentally and internally a young boy wanting to play with kids his own age, but not being able to in his physical state. Though he has the same mental and internal characteristic capacity as a child his age. As the movie progresses, he reaches middle age where he is finally compatible both mentally and physically to his peers and love interest/good friend in the movie. Unfortunately, as the movie begins to climax, his loved ones begin to die. The mother that adopted and raised him passed away in her old age. Not only that, but he is now witnessing the physical degeneration and aging of the women he loved and grew up with as a child. While she is growing older, he is becoming younger. I believe it would be scary to be the only one getting younger, while others around you grow older and die. Having to witness your friends and love ones’ dismay and final breath. Its one thing to be around them and you being their age, understanding their issues. But to be young while they get old would make me ask “why me?”. You soon find yourself alone. Death was not traditionally portrayed in this movie, but the perspective was just as effective as any other in the media. It still makes it aware that death is a part of life, whether you are growing old towards it or growing young approaching it.