Posted by: prataap | February 1, 2010

DEATH TREND 3: GETTING READY


TREND 3: GETTING READY 

 LIFE AND DEATH PLANNING. 

         LIFTING THE LAST TABOO. 

  

     Emerging Trends:  

Until the sixties, sex was taboo.  And until recently, it was money. You never asked someone her actual worth.  Forbes magazine pieced the information together but rarely did anyone on the list of richest people confirm it publicly. Today ask any Internet millionaire his worth and he will proudly and loudly tell you in exact numbers including preferred stock options!  Or just ask Google or Zillow.  Why ask?  Foursquare and Blippy lets you instantly announce to the world, where you are and what you are buying. 

 

The next taboo to fall will be death. We don’t want to talk about it. Let alone face it ourselves. Cancer and AIDS changed that for a while in the 80’s but that too has changed in the US with the increasing number of effective treatment options.  But now, with increasing ability to plan and organize one’s own death, more and more baby boomers are looking to do just that.  Decide how, where, when and in whose presence you want to die. The gene research will soon let you know how and when you will die (unless you get hit by a truck first), and the virtual reality world will create ways of “staying alive” forever.  How, where, what and when have become much more open ended and within your control.  The biggest question of the new day will be deciding whether brain death or mind death is the real moment of death? 

 

 For example: I know if I find out in the next 2 years that I have pancreatic cancer, it is highly unlikely I will get treated.  Instead I’ll spend as much of my remaining active life outdoors at my homes in Nova Scotia and Gloucester. And when I am closer to death, I will slow down my life and reduce my social contacts to a handful of people to conserve energy.  And to focus on the transition into death I will spend part of every month in silent retreat at a monastery I have frequented during my life.  I would like to spend my last moments awake but in as little pain as possible in the quiet of my bed with only three or four of my dearest friends and family present at my home.  All this is written in my living will and stored safely away.   The opportunity to die just the way you want is already possible today and more and more people are realizing it and making it happen. Dennis Hopper divorcing his wife while on his death bed. It is going to get more surreal before it settles down.

 

Next Opportunities:

Bill Moyers series on Death and Dying on PBS in the Fall of 2000 was a start. It cratched the surface of many issues that lie at the heart of this topic that has been taboo for the last 100 years. Boomers like Moyers will break through this glass ceiling and make it accessible to all.

Opportunities you ask; starting with Bill Moyers expect more best sellers on this topic, like “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, and then you have Timothy Leary’s video document of his last days.   There always have been the Dr. Kevorkians of the underworld who will help make it happen. Whatever it is: talking about death, walking the final mile with someone else, how to touch someone who is dying, helping a person let go. These related topics will soon be talked and disected and reconstructed till you are blue in the face.  We are a culture of extremes and will take this to an extreme before we are done.  Expect the next Damien Hirst of the art world to give it to you as the ultimate performance act.

Meantime, you can help create the structure or format for communities and families to nurture the dying or chronically ill within them. Create the “how to guide” for chronic care, or Death and Dying for Dummies. It’s going to be needed and some one is going to do it, might as well be you…if you have the experience and wisdom and sensitivity to handle these delicate multi-layered legal, emotional,  medical, practical issues.

Look for Chronic Care Communities of friends and families coming together around death and dying. Home hospice will mushroom.  What is relatively rare today, hospice insurance will become the norm as more people opt to die at home, away from cold hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Others will opt for assisted suicide clinics like ones run by the Dignitas group in Zurich where the rich and famous like British maestro  conductor Edward Downes and his wife went in July 2009 when cancer and old age made them decide that they were ready to go to Zurich for very the last time.

Mourning Dove Studios LLC in Arlington, MA is working with Mount Auburn Cemetery in nearby Watertown, MA. the oldest large-scale garden cemetery in the US, to introduce your final carbon footprint with biodegradable caskets made of papier-mâché material. What could be better as your final act, tread lightly on the earth as you are laid to rest!  This concept that started with indigenous peoples across the globe has been in vogue in Europe for over two decades and is finally catching on in the US.  Check out a cemetery near you. Also, there is even a funeral industry blog, Your Funeral Guy and check out SimpleFunerals for funerals under $2000. That’s a steal!!

Rest assured, death is soon going to be on your mind.  The forces are converging.   It’s your life and it’s your death.  Make it happen your way.

Let your imagination run wild.

 

Create the future and smell the roses, it’s your move!

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