On Being Mortal


While watching the Frontline special Being Mortal, I was reminded again that what The Carolinas Center’s members do is very special in the world of healthcare.  It is special because you are providing a chance at living and comfort to people who are at their most vulnerable.

I was inspired by the many families who shared their stories, providing a glimpse into the agony of facing one’s mortality and making decisions about how to spend one’s final days. I was inspired because the show provided an intimate picture into our humanity – the tensions between hope and realism, fighting disease and accepting a prognosis, holding on and facing loss and being reverent and holding skepticism. I was inspired by the professionals who care for the seriously ill and dying because they, like the people they care for, want to believe that they can fix the problem despite the limitations of medicine. These insights tugged at my heart while opening up my own vulnerability as I lived vicariously through the experiences of those featured on the show.

It seems acutely obvious from the show that we should be making our end of life wishes known long before they are needed. A one-time conversation is hardly sufficient. Trained professionals in hospice and palliative care offer resources to individuals who are ready to take that next step and make their end of life wishes explicit. The Carolinas Center offers its Isn’t It Time We Talk? resource and it, along with many other excellent resources, offers you practical guidance on walking through “The Conversation.”

Making your final wishes known through Advance Healthcare Directives (aka Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney) is a gift to your family. Let us know how we can help you take the next step. With April 16 being National Healthcare Decisions Day, there is no better time to act.


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