I was thinking about life and living the other day——- what? doesn’t everybody? Anyway, I envisioned life as a line. Birth, living, dying, death is how life unfolds.
We are born with labor to get into this world. We learn how to eat, to sleep, and to socialize as part of being alive. Then we turn around and begin the process of dying by eating less, sleeping more, and withdrawing socially.
When we enter this world we learn to eat food, gradually going from water, milk, soft foods, then anything our bodies can handle.
With sleep, at first we sleep most of the time (parents are saying hopefully) and then gradually we spend more time awake.
At first we are dependent, then we gradually take on more and more responsibility.
Food, sleep, and socialization are three important aspects to living life.
When life has run its course (however many years it is) our body begins to "wind down" much like it “wound up” in the beginning.
If an accident or an illness does not interrupt the life cycle, there will come a point where it begins preparing for death just like it prepared for living and experiencing when it was born.
Gradually through the remaining years, without even realizing it, the body begins preparing for death. Food seems less important. Meat isn’t as good as it used to be, quantities aren’t as large, gradually, ever so gradually, soft foods, soups, ice cream become more interesting, until eventually we just aren’t eating a balanced, enough to sustain life, diet.
As with the baby sleeping less, in old age our sleep needs seem to increase. “I’m just tired all the time," "I can’t sleep at night but easily sleep in the day," (how many babies have their day and nights reversed?). Naps became important and eventually we are sleeping more than we are being active.
Our social skills and wants tend to change. We have less need for people interactions, we start to go inward with our thoughts.
AND THEN labor begins, labor to leave this world, labor to push out of this body we have spent a lifetime experiencing in.
There are articles and books written about these similarities. Dr. Susan Boron’s Bookends is a new one I am familiar with. Most people don’t think about birthing, living, and dying let alone its similarities. I’m offering you something to think about.
Something More... about Winding Down as End of Life Approaches
Watching a special person decline from disease or old age can be scary. I have created a (multi award winning) film, New Rules For End of Life Care, DVD Kit. This educational kit teaches people how to care for their loved one at the end of their life. It will educate gently and reduce fear.
Whether the patient is at home, in a nursing home or hospital, this kit will give the family valuable information they need to understand the dying process.