This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Life, and death, with dignity

If you like old books, you may have been surprised to find how cold and callous our ancestors seemed to be on the subject of death. 100 years ago, there really wasn't much they could do but accept it, and ultimately it is still true today.

100 years ago, my ancestors saw a lot of death. The animals that they ate weren't all neatly wrapped up in plastic. And people died from things that nowadays would just be a nuisance. Even children. In my lifetime, I've seen this fatalistic attitude toward death, and have always fought against it. I was the first generation to wear seat belts in cars, instead of figuring that dying behind the wheel was *my destiny*. And I still feel this way. There is no reason not to use the wonderful technology that has been invented in the last 100 years to preserve life.

But life ends for everyone. And as I enter the second half-century of my life, I can see the end of the road in the distance. And there are two things that I want, a life with dignity and a death with dignity. No, I'm not talking about a suicide booth on every street corner, I am talking about letting the people around you know your wishes. If it's hard to you to accept, I understand, but you have to trust me here. I have been in Intensive Care, and a more hellish place on earth, I can't imagine. Everything there is brutally harsh. The lights never go out, the noise never ends. The discomfort and the pain is unbelievable. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will make me go back, even if I could live forever.

Most of my ancestors died at home, in bed. There was nothing *creepy* about this. They were surrounded by the people and the things they loved. When the time came to go, they were content.

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