Recently, news and social media have been flooded with talk about death and dying – when and how to die and our rights and choices. This very important subject touches deeply held values, beliefs, fears and hopes. Thankfully, the recent onslaught of discussion has been mostly framed with compassion; general acknowledgement that end-of-life decisions are painfully difficult and there is no single right answer.
A common thread throughout these discussions is the idea of dignity, and our search for that in the dying process. Dignity is defined by each individual, and there are a myriad of interpretations, as with most human values. Washington, Oregon and Vermont, with their Death with Dignity Acts, have impacted the way we think – the language itself implies something that requires legislation to obtain. These state laws, in fact, make permissible physician-aided dying, which many people embrace as the path to a dignified death. We respect the wishes of residents of these states to choose this legal option, but we uphold the belief that it is not the only path to a dignified death.
Our hope is that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual suffering will find relief at Clarehouse, through the loving touch of compassionate hands and hearts. We hope that at Clarehouse, presence replaces isolation along the difficult journey of dying. We hope that, given peace-filled time and space, meaningful closure can occur during the final days surrounding death that makes every moment worth living.
Singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer takes comfort in the depth and strength of community that gathers at the doorway of life and death, “easing the leaving”. In her song Three Women, she sings that “we are holding you up as you’re letting us go”. We hope to ease the leaving of those who spend their last days at Clarehouse, and, like Carrie, we believe the gathering of community is healing; it is the medicine of our house.
These hopes cannot reach fulfillment without you. Every day of care that is offered here has the potential to change someone’s experience; to transform a dying one’s unmitigated suffering to comfort and a welcomed release. For those who carry on, the experience of loss and death may be the wound that deepens, sharpens and enhances living. Please consider a gift today to enable the loving kindness of Clarehouse care by printing off a donation card, or by clicking here to donate online with your credit card. Your donation makes a difference and we need your help.
We give thanks for the path that Clarehouse offers individuals and families in the difficult journey of terminal illness. We give thanks for this generous and loving community that supports a home and philosophy of care that is a haven of dignity and peace.
As we gather at our table, in this house, this Thanksgiving, we give thanks for your support and wish you the joy and comfort of family and friends.
Kelley Scott Ross A. McKinney
Executive Director President, Board of Directors