Monday, April 28, 2014

The Three Ways In Which People Die

I heard someone say that there are three ways in which people die:

The first is the cessation of life in the body, which is how most of us think of death.

The second is when our body is consigned to the earth or to fire.

The third is the last time our name is spoken.

The first type of death we do not choose, although we may be able to affect our longevity through life-style choices and the quality of our ending through palliative and hospice care.

Our choices regarding the second way we die, at least for most of us in the Western world, is burial or cremation.

But the third way we die - the ways in which we are remembered and the duration of that memory - is truly in the plane of the non-inevitable in which the human spirit thrives.

We can affect the ways in which we and loved ones are remembered by:

1. Considering the legacy we wish to leave. In a previous post, I suggest that any point in our lives we
    can affect our legacies by:
  • Reflecting on our values and important goals and making adjustments when appropriate
  • Preparing a written "legacy statement" explaining the values and personal qualities we want to demonstrate in our daily lives
  • Determining the extent to which our daily words and actions match those values and goals and making necessary changes.
2. Telling and eliciting stories about the lives of loved ones as a way of communicating family
    heritage and values. Photos, letters and other memorabilia can be used to stimulate such

3. Preserving stories in audio and/or video recordings. It is never too late to begin. As an Arbor
    Hospice volunteer, I have supported patients and their families in capturing such stories in the final
    days and weeks of life.

By what means do you or your family preserve important stories for the benefit of future generations and to keep alive the memories and names of those who have gone on before?

This blog post was written by Dennis Sparks, Arbor Hospice volunteer. You may contact Dennis by commenting below or emailing him at

No comments:

Post a Comment