The conversation at Saturday’s Albuquerque Death Cafe included discussion of Casey Kasem’s end-of-life situation, advance directives and wills, physician aid-in-dying, altar calls at funerals, and more.
The recent news about the family tug-of-war between Casey Kasem’s second wife of 34 years and his children from his first marriage played out in numerous media outlets. We discussed how family relationships can break down after learning about wills and inheritance arrangements.
With Casey Kasem’s advance directives from 2007, his daughter was able to stop artificial nutrition and hydration, which does not help a dying person. Susan, a nurse, noted that trees stop using water and food when they are dying, and a dying human is much like a dying tree.
It was noted that many Religious Right people don’t want people to die. “If heaven is so wonderful, why don’t they want to die?” quipped Joe.
One of the attendees, Dr. Aroop Mangalick, provided sage insights about end-of-life situations. He is one of the doctors involved in the Bernalillo County ruling that protects physicians from prosecution should they prescribe life-ending medications to a terminally-ill patient who requests a means to achieve a peaceful death. He said that more than 50% of Americans surveyed across the country indicated an acceptance that physician aid-in-dying should be legal.
We also talked about the economies of aging, funeral expenses, and the cost and importance of obituaries. When you seek out the obits and start to know the people who appear on those pages, you know you’re a part of the community.
We discussed how at funerals in certain Christian denominations, the pastor will do a “come to Jesus” call for people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, known as an altar call. This trolling for converts while there are fresh faces in a church for a funeral is especially grating to non-believers and has resulted in a number of bad funeral memories.
Lola, our Albuquerque Death Cafe mascot, presided at the head of the table in her summer attire. She never says anything out loud, but her presence speaks volumes.