Engage with Grace is a project that encourages people to discuss end-of-life issues with their loved ones. What better time to do that than Thanksgiving–even if at first death & dying seem a poor fit with a holiday most of us have warm feelings about. But it makes even more sense when you consider that everything we give thanks for on this day, including one another, is something we’re eventually going to have to part with.
It further resonates with me because my mother was born on Thanksgiving, and her death was the first I was present for. It was as close to a perfect death as one could hope for, not sudden, not dragged out, my brother and me at her side, in a wonderful hospice filled with amazing caregivers. We were lucky. It was a long time coming; we were prepared; she had a great oncologist who referred us to the hospice. And when soon after my father was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, we had the oncologist and the hospice to turn to. A more sudden death this time, but again, in many ways, we were lucky.
But death catches others unawares, less prepared, the essential things not talked about. So talk it through. These are the people, as writers, we often tell stories about. Like all stories, they will at some point come to an end. Do what you can to make them good endings.