Death is defined as the permanent cessation of vital functions; the end of life. This is very scary when you think about It. This course has helped me understand the subjects surrounding death, and the process leading up to my death. “Death, dying and bereavement are fundamental and pervasive aspects of the human experience.Individuals and societies achieve fullness of living by understanding and appreciating these realities”. (Despoiler, p.
540) Specifically, this paper will examine what I have learned wrought this course on the subject of death, and I will examine three examples of social learning and three examples of personal learning on the subject of death. The high cost off funeral is a social learning example that I will first discuss.I became very aware after viewing the funeral home video, reading Chapter 9 of the textbook, The Last Dance, and reading the General Price List given to us by Erin at the Beechen & Bennett Funeral Home that the funeral home business Is a very profitable business. Since people die every single day, the need for funeral home services ever diminishes nor does a poor economy affect this type of business.
At the time of a loved one’s death, the family member, due to feelings of loss, sorrow and guilt, Is extremely vulnerable emotionally, and most of the time will not shop around from one funeral home to another for the best price. After my reading chapter 9 of the textbook, I came to realize that the funeral home business is a business about which the average person knows very little, and because of this lack of familiarity, funeral directors are in a position to take financial advantage of their customers (Despoiler, p. 16).
If the cost of health care premiums and uninsured medical expenses during a long terminal illness isn’t enough to put you in the poor house or if the deceased was unable to pay for yearly life insurance premiums to pay for the cost of the funeral, I came to the realization after review of the General Price List from the funeral home I visited that the cost of a funeral service can surely put you in the poor house.In 1963, two books were written which viewed the materialistic features of funeral homes as excessive, and fortunately these two books resulted In consumer lobbying for greater governmental regulation of funeral homes. Despoiler, p. 320) In reading the general price list given to me at the funeral home, the funeral costs include a charge for funeral home staff, an intake fee for transferring remains, embalming the body, caskets or other burial containers, facility charges and transportation charges.I was further shocked to read on the general price list that payment to the funeral home is due “before” the service; no future payment option is available to the family member and the funeral home will not wait until you receive the life insurance money (if life insurance was even purchased).
Payment is expected, and a late payment penalty of 18% yearly will be charged on any unpaid balance. Even with the cost off basic funeral service, most people, in today’s economy, do not have the extra money to pay for this expensive service.Although the Federal Trade Commission has regulations surrounding the itemization of all types of prices to customers (Despoiler, p. 316), the prices themselves are extraordinary, and the cost of a basic funeral can amount to approximately $5,000, on the family, the funeral itself can be a showing of a message of love and sorrow from a loved one to all friends and family in the community, causing the family, out of lilt, to spend more money on a funeral than what they really can afford. “It is worth remembering that the purpose of the funeral can be realized whether it is garnished with diamonds and rubies or with poetry and a song.
(Despoiler, p. 323) However, a mint-funeral does not equal mint-grief because the more you shorten your emotional acting out, the more you prolong the pain of grief and postpone mourning (Despoiler, p. 324) In conclusion, a bereaved family member upon a loved one’s death is rarely objective enough to compare prices from one funeral home to another, so I have come to learn that it is necessary to research funeral homes and elated expenses before death in order to make good financial decisions, rather than on-the-spot decisions, when your emotions will get in the way. Despoiler, p. 321).
I was relieved to learn that when there is no money to cover the cost for even disposal of the body, never mind a funeral, the state is forced to step in with money from an “indigent burial fund”. (Despoiler, p. 340) There are end-of-life issues which are social meaning issues that I will now discuss. I became very aware after reading Chapter 7 of the textbook, The Last Dance, and reviewing the Life Issues power point authored by Steven A.Archer, PhD. J. D.
That there are many matters that a person should deal with before finding themselves in a life-threatening position. I discovered that with adequate planning, I can relieve some of the stress that will burden my loved ones as to what type of resuscitative measures I want taken to shorten or extend my life and also what steps I want to be taken with my personal belongings after my death.I was dismayed to learn that in addition to the expense of a funeral, I will also have to pay an attorney to prepare both an “advance directive”, described on the power point authored by Dry. Archer, “when you can no longer express your wishes – due to some medical and mental incapacity..
. “, along with the preparation of a Will. Preparing these documents is important, but as important is to make sure that these documents are given to my physician and my family so they are well aware of my desires, both nearing my death and after my death.There are two types of advance directives. One is a Living Will which will give my instructions as to what kind of medical care I want to receive if I become unable to make those decisions, and the second type is a Health Care Proxy where I appoint a person who I trust with my life o make decisions if I am unable.. I think that everyone knows the reasons for the preparation of a Will, so I will only explain the reasons for the preparation of advance directives.
If I am in a vegetative state with absolutely no hope of getting better, do I want to die sooner and remain comfortable, or do I want to live longer by receiving extensive medical treatment? This extensive medical treatment will merely prolong my life on earth, but I may be in great discomfort, hooked up to breathing and feeding machines, and I’ll have absolutely no quality of life. I was comforted to find out from the textbook that I have a choice, and I will definitely choose to withhold extensive treatment.The withholding of medical treatment is known as “passive euthanasia” which is when a person will never be conscious again, is destined to die, and the family has the doctor textbook (Despoiler, p. 234) about two landmark cases involving two women: Karen Ann Quintal (New Jersey Supreme Court) and Nancy Beth Curran (United States Supreme Court).
After a long battle, both women were finally taken off life support. I was stunned to then read in the textbook about the other form of euthanasia now as “assisted suicide” (Despoiler, p. 235 – 241).Assisted suicide is the most hotly contested and debated type of euthanasia. The physician most highly noted for assisted suicide was Dry. Jack Sovereign who had provided lethal injections to more than 130 people.
Dry. Sovereign felt that he never actually caused a death, but that he helped a suffering person exercise their last civil right and that to allow a person to suffer is similar to torturing a person. Although assisted suicide is classified by the Christian religion as murder and is unlawful in most of the United States, it can end he pain and suffering of a person with a terminal disease.
I believe that the only time I would consider assisted suicide is if a member of my family or myself was terminally ill and was expected to have a slow and painful death. Oregon is the only state in which assisted suicide is accepted. Oregon law states that a resident who has been diagnosed, by a physician, with a terminal illness that will kill the patient within six months may request in writing, from his or her physician, a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending the patient’s life.Exercise of he option under this law is voluntary and the patient must initiate the request. (Despoiler, p 237) The third subject of social learning that I will discuss is society means of coping with the subject of death by either avoiding the subject through language and humor, or considering it taboo to talk about. I learned from the textbook that people will use vague language in discussing death in order to disguise, “prettify’ and keep the subject of death at arm’s length.Instead of saying that a person has died, people will say that a person has “passed away’ or is “taking the dirt AP”.
(Despoiler, p 14) Language used by funeral home personnel can include “coaches” instead of hearses, or “floral tributes” instead of flowers, or that the corpse lies in the “slumber room” (Despoiler, p. 320) Humor too can be a way of dealing with the subject because humor can take away some of our anxiety about death. “Humor functions in several ways relative to death: First, it raises our consciousness about a taboo subject and gives us a way to talk about it.Second, it presents an opportunity to rise above sadness, providing a release from pain and promoting a ensue of control over a traumatic situation… Third, humor is a greater leveler;.
.. It binds us together… Which helps us face what is unknown.
.. ” (Despoiler, p. 17) One example of humor is a group of doctors, concerned that using the word “death” would alarm other patients, tried to find substitute words to relay that someone had died, so one doctor announced to a group of doctors, “Guess who’s not going to shop at Wall-Mart anymore? (Despoiler, p. 18) I also learned through reading excerpts of the book On Death and Dying that in contrast to old-fashioned customs of close Emily involvement during and after the death of a loved one, that nowadays death is a subject that can be taboo, and discussion of death is avoided because it is felt to be morbid. This is especially true with dealing with young children, who are usually rushed off to a relatives house after a parent dies, and the child, instead of being told the truth, might be told that the parent is on a long trip.
This will result in such as cancer and AIDS, people may feel the burden of social stigma since those diseases carry with them a powerful symbolic significance and are considered taboo. This will cause both friends and relatives to abandon the patient. People who have these illnesses may be defined as “non-persons”, and this type of negative outlook can lead to avoidance of the patient. (Despoiler, p. 185, 186) My own fear of dying is a personal learning experience which I will discuss. What really will happen immediately before and at the time of my death?Will I suffer in pain, or peacefully die in my sleep, and then go to a place where I was taught in catholic school to be a far better place called heaven? “It is inconceivable for our unconscious to imagine an actual ending of our own life..
. He ending is always attributed to a malicious intervention from the outside by someone else. ” (Kibble-Ross, p. 16).
I learned from reading excerpts from the book On Death and Dying that the fear of dying may be due to the fact that dying nowadays is more gruesome, lonely, mechanical and euthanized.