In a recent piece of research by Macmillian Cancer Support they found that many cancer patients, and indeed probably many others with terminal diseases were not making sufficient end of life plans.
You can read more about it in this article from the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-44113735
They surveyed 2005 people which is enough to get a rough idea that probably reflects the experiences of most people in this position.
Essentially the gist of the research is people have not though about their last days, where they will be, who with and likely what happens to their assets after death.
Macmillan encourages people to make proper plans about their death, before and after when knowing they are going to or likely to die in the near future. They say that people fighting for life and holding on till the end gets in the way of them making these plans often leaving them in hospital to die and leaving family to deal with the aftermath.
I have mixed thoughts about this. They are of course correct in that you should make plans for the end of your life. The efficient planner in me sees he value of this and I certainly wouldn’t want my last days to be in a hospital bed and nor do I want anyone else to sort out my affairs once I’m gone (there is always an element of that, after all, you are dead) this all makes sense.
However, at the end of life when you are facing your mortality head on, the very human response could be to simply give in or to fight and try to elongate your existence a little more.
People will be questioning many things at the end of life, their acts, deeds and misdeeds. Their spirituality, maybe realise it was meaningless or maybe to find faith. Maybe repentance and maybe reflection on what was not achieved.
Most importantly, one of the things that makes life liveable is hope, and even at the end of life this hope is important.
The artist in me would think to end my life by doing something quite grand, throwing caution to the wind as time is limited. To at least and finally not worry about what others think and plans and systems, to go out on a high.
Maybe that’s unrealistic, but I completely understand people needing to hold onto hope at the end. When you’re about to die why think about practicalities. But if it means people are ending their lives miserable, then maybe the plans are needed.
It just seems like at that point in life it’s always going to be hard to think about these things. Putting your head into a space to think logically is going to be a challenge when death is around the corner.