A week ago, I attended a screening of the documentary End Game, which follows the end of life care of several terminally ill people. This was quite touching and also tough to watch at times. Tissues were needed. The film event was part of the 100% Certainty Project, a local endeavour that encourages us to talk about death because we’re all going there and it’s important to face that.
Most of us think more about how we want to live than how we want to die. But the quality of your final days, weeks, months or years, is pivotal not only for yourself but those you leave behind. How well your final needs are met – or not met – will stay with those people for the rest of their lives. So for everyone, it is important to have those conversations.
The beauty and compassion of palliative care featured prominently in the documentary and people’s misconceptions of this kind of care were also addressed. As it was mentioned at one point, palliative care is “Helping people live as well as possible for as long as possible.”
After we watched the documentary, there was a very thoughtful panel discussion among the project partners with input from the audience. Some people were still a bit ‘raw’ after watching the documentary and found it challenging to put thoughts into words.
The 100% Certainty Project is a collaboration between these partners:
– Palliative Care Division of McMaster University Family Medicine
– Carpenter Hospice
– Dermody’s Funeral Home
– Hamilton Public Library
– Epic Books
– Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice
– Heart House Hospice
The Project can be found on Twitter: @Ytalkaboutdeath
They put together annual reading lists and these are the recommendations for the upcoming year:
A Man Called Ove
Talking About Death Won’t Kill You
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
The End of Your Life Book Club
Funeral (a resource for childhood grief)
Other recommended resources were Speak Up Canada and a Ted Talk by Dr. B.J. Miller, who is in the documentary, called ‘What really matters at the end of life’. They also mentioned that Canada’s National Day of Bereavement is November 20.
There are more 100% Certainty Project events coming up that you can find here.
Whether the need for end of life care comes suddenly or slowly, the heightened stress of critical health makes it difficult to think straight and make decisions. Ideally, we have these talks ahead of time and make our wishes known to save precious time later, free from debates and guessing.
On a lighter aside 🙂 ….I was happy to see the inside of McMaster’s David Braley Centre where this event was hosted at Main and Bay in downtown Hamilton. Here are a few pictures in case you haven’t been in this beautiful place yet.