About half the funerals at funeral homes in Clinton Township, MI are for older people who have lived full lives and have a treasure trove of memories and a perpetual legacy they have left behind for their families.
Some of these loved ones died naturally of old age with basic medical care, while others had surgeries, procedures, and medications that extended their lives for perhaps a few weeks, a few months, or a few years beyond when they would have naturally died.
In a time past, when older people neared the end of their days, they were propped up on a comfortable pillow, in a bed freshly made with clean sheets, near their favorite window where they could watch their grandchildren outside and watch their daughter inside as they went about their daily routines.
Food cooked on the stove was offered and they might take a bite or a sip or they might not. A radio played softly in the background with their favorite tunes. Family members were in and out to quietly talk with them for few minutes, and then they were allowed to drift back off to sleep.
There was no pressure for the older family member to be engaged. There might be a flutter of the eyelids, a smile of recognition, or the light squeeze of a hand. That was enough.
These were how older people who were nearing death died. They were safely ensconced in a familiar house, with familiar smells, and with familiar sounds. They could be in the present or they could be recalling all the memories of their lives. The young child running in the yard. The teenager on their first date. The young adult in college or at their first job working, Marriage, children, grandchildren, and perhaps greatgrandchildren.
They might talk in half-sleep or in the fog of senility about the times they remembered best – the distant past, the significant events in their lives, the people they loved who had preceded them in death.
And when they died, they were surrounded by all of this love, all of these memories, at home.
Very few older people, unless they make their medical wishes clear and have a medical power of attorney appointed who will make sure that they are adhered to, who are nearing the end of their lives die this way today.
As medicine has advanced, doctors feel obliged to do everything they can to intercede and prolong the lives of people who are simply dying because their old and it’s time. Often, this intercession does more harm than good, and while it may give quantity of life, it seldom gives quality of life.
Modern medicine can intervene to breathe for a person, to feed a person, and to handle bodily functions for a person. It can extend life by artificial means without actually enhancing life. When older people are nearing death and are kept alive, it’s often in an unfamiliar place, not filled with the familiar smells of home, but instead with the noxious smells of disinfectants and other sanitizing agents. Instead of the comfortable bed and pillow near a window where they can look at and see their families, they are surrounded by bars in uncomfortable beds, perhaps with a pillowed covering to try to prevent pressure sores, but perhaps not, with uncomfortable pillows, staring at an institutional ceiling or wall.
Dying naturally is, slowly but surely, making a comeback, because the alternative is a much harder way to die.
For information about planning funerals at funeral homes in Clinton Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help. You can come by our funeral home at 46530 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI, 48044 or you can contact us today at (586) 412-8999.