Meaningful Death

Death is something most people don’t like to or want to think about, until forced to. But we should. Not about dying itself, but about it being inevitable and to be prepared for it once the time comes – along with the loved ones.

Today my father brought this topic up in a conversation with my brother and I. He’s 70 years old, and although completely healthy and fit, is realistic about having most of his years behind him. He wanted to discuss a topic of importance to him, that’s what happens to his body after he’s gone. He’s done some extensive research on how to donate his body to science and medical research, as he wants to not just donate all organs that might be possible but to offer his dead body for medical students’ practicing. He had read in a newspaper how most medical students never see a dead body during their studies, as there just aren’t many donated for that kind of medical training – purposes.

Many years back I’ve already done an organ donor – testament and also mentioned to my family I’d prefer after my death that my body be fully utilised in which ever way possible. For me, my body is not me, and once I have no more need for it, I’d rather give it for meaningful use. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to help, even with death. When it’s my time to go, I could still be able to do some good; by donating organs, and giving medical students a chance to practice on a real body.

I was pleased my father had thought this through for himself and that he wanted me and my brother to be on the same page and accept it. I believe it will also be a comforting thought at a time of grievance, to know that other people are getting help through our loss. That’s the kind of death I want for myself one day as well. Death won’t feel so useless, and a complete end, when new life might come out of it.

It’s interesting though how difficult it is to donate your body for medical research. My father has made some 15 phone calls and still doesn’t have all the answers and proper paper work done, to guarantee authorities are aware of his decision and will and how it shall be organised when the time comes. It does provide quite a bit of bureaucracy to go through, and surely is better to be dealt with now and not at the moment of loss and grievance. Most people won’t be bothered to be proactive in planning how their eventual death could be made beneficial as well, so societies and especially university hospitals could and should be more active on raising this topic.

Our bodies are not us and we won’t have any need for the body once it stops living. Why not end our lives with a one last good action, then?

My godmother writes a Christmas letter every year, reflecting on the past year and thanking for having been part of it. In her letter this year, she used a great quote – “One day we all will die. But on every other day we will not.” The focus should be on all those days when we don’t die. Still, it’s good to be prepared and make sure our death won’t go to waste, either.

 

Happy Parent’s Day, on this Mother’s Day!

On the international Mother’s Day, social media fills up with poems, appraisals and touching pictures to thank you and honor mothers. Quite rightly so, mothers do deserve to be thanked and appreciated. They deserve that every day of the year but no harm done in dedicating a special day for recognition of their love and dedication.

The older I get the more I’ve started appreciating my own mother and also telling her how much she means to me. I’ve always known she’s an excellent mother but it took me many years before I learned to tell it to her. I’ve always been a daddy’s daughter and over the years have treasured the special relationship and bond I have with both. The years abroad have also opened my eyes to realizing how extremely lucky I have been and am, to have such loving and caring parents, who support me no matter what, with unconditional love.

My mother has always been my role model, enduring much physical caused by her rheumatism without letting the illness be on her way. She completed higher education at a mature age and started climbing up the career ladder without ever letting the well-being of the family be compromised. I never felt she sacrificed her own well-being for us though, I’ve always felt she’s been fully present in the moment, loving us and living her life at the same time.

Not all mothers have equal chances for being a good mother. Or even being a mother. In Finland the push for a motherhood law is a hot topic currently, which when legalized will give the right to more women for being the mother they want to be, by recognizing the motherhood of not only the birth mother but the spouse as well. For mothers are not made through giving birth to a child, but in raising up the child, providing unconditional love and guidance for growing up to be a good person.

A good friend in Thailand just became a mother of twins, which were borne by a surrogate mother. Pregnancy is not a prerequisite for becoming a mother. My love to my mother is not because she carried me in her belly for 9 months. Those 9 months were just a start for our life-long journey but equally a motherhood can start at a later stage.

I hope this mother’s day, we’d remember to recognize all mother’s for their love and support to their children – no matter how and when they became mothers. There is no one way of being a true mother, or being a good mother. I have enormous respect to all women in the world who have taken on the difficult task of bringing up a child. And same for all those men who are giving their everything in their roles as fathers. Being parents. Parent is a great term, in being gender-neutral and open for 1, 2 or many. Parent, in general, is what a child needs and deserves. Whether it’s one or more, women or men, is of lesser importance.

My mom and dad have been great parents to me and my brother, and for that I’m eternally grateful. My love for them isn’t conditional for us sharing the same genes, and for them being a woman and a man. I love my parents because they are amazing individuals, who have provided me with a safe and loving environment to grow up, the mental and physical support I have needed and their unconditional love.

In addition to this special Mother’s Day, I’d love to start celebrating a Parent’s Day – gender neutral, allowing for equal appreciation and respect and love to be shown to all the parents in the world. With this, to all the mothers and fathers of the world, thank you for your love and efforts. To my mom and dad, from the bottom of my heart, I love, respect and appreciate you.