Living life fully until the end

Andrew Sandoval
Mesa Legend

photo Kian HagermanQuality of life matters more than quantity The fast-paced nature of modern society means that one gets little time, if any to consider how life might end until circumstance forces the issue. Then one fateful day you might be on the receiving end of terrible news; that their days are numbered. Faced with the inevitable, some may choose to struggle, even if the effort is clearly futile. The choice to prolong one’s suffering in their final days can seem appealing; a chance to right wrongs, and resolve anything that might otherwise be left undone.

However, there is a point of diminishing returns, where the days afforded by fighting back against the tide of oblivion are an agony to endure. The world can be a beautiful place, but this is largely unappreciated from the confines of a hospital bed.Given the opportunity to choose for myself, I would never wish my final moments to be spent in this manner. Life is an adventure, filled with moments of both awe and quiet contemplation, triumph and tragedy that should not end in horror.

Rather than struggle against the inescapable reality of death, take whatever time is needed to get your affairs in order. Check off those items on your bucket list that are feasible to accomplish. Embrace the chance you have to embark on one last tour of this life while you are capable. Accepting medical treatment for incurable ailments may help supplement the time afforded to you, but recognize when you no longer benefit from the treatment you receive. There may come a point where your days are no longer spent fruitfully, and what time you have left can only be a harrowing ordeal.

This can be a painful realization, coming to terms with human frailty that we all share, but pragmatism can save much more pain when the time comes. The decision to stop struggling is a very personal one, that will vary for everyone; do not let the decision be anyone’s but your own. Those that care for you, that you in turn care for will be left to grieve eventually, and lingering for their sake does a disservice to all parties. As you live your life on your own terms, so too should you approach your death.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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