Jane Brody, the NY Times Personal Health columnist, has been guiding Americans on matters of health since 1965. On occasion she offers readers a glimpse into her personal life, such as the time she described the uncontrolled pain she suffered following her knee replacements.
This week, Jane Brody shares a deeply personal life event in real time: the dying of her husband of 43 years.
She titled the column, "When the Only Hope is a Peaceful Ending." and opens with the irony: "When I wrote Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond, I had no idea that I’d be putting its precepts into practice in my immediate family within a year of publication."
In Brody's trademark clear style, she describes her husband's rapid decline. Yet there is a sense of calm in the midst of unspeakable sadness. Since she and her husband had discussed the difficult choices, she was confident when making the difficult decisions. With end-of-life planning done, she could focus her attention and energies on saying good-bye with love.
That was the whole point of writing her latest book. Preparation enables you to die the way you hope to die.
Preparation is a gift to your loved ones, too. It enables them to advocate for you. And it frees them from ever wondering if they did right by you. From ever saying "I wish I knew then what I know now."
Thanks for the lessons, Jane Brody. My sincerest condolences.