Friday, March 31, 2006

A Good Death?



Yesterday on Radio Four there was an interesting discussion of palliative care on the regular You and Yours program. For me it brought to mind this image by Ferdinand Hodler. Painted in 1915, The Dying Valentine Godé-Darel shows only one image of many which portray death and dying. The show discussed ideas surrounding attitudes to death and what might constitute a 'good death'. You can listen to it again here.

4 comments:

Anjali said...

death is a topic which is often not discussed. people avoid the topic even though it is the eventual consequence of all our lives.

this is a beautiful piece of art. the open mouth seems like a slient scream. the agony is conveyed yet he seems at peace. what a paradox.

Ghost Writer said...

What a poignant observation Anjali. I think the tension you identify between agony and peace is the same tension that exists between a desire to hang onto life on the one hand and a desire to submit to the peace of death on the other. What a paradox indeed.

Giskin said...

This week the media have 'blitzed' health care for the elderly. I caught the documentary 'Me and My Mum' by Tony Robinson. It was a thoughtful, if inconclusive, look at care homes. It seems sad that old age should be so terrifying, for the elderly and for relatives. I couldn't help thinking about how we treat babies with delight and attention in spite of their incontinence, dribbling and inability to communicate. This is in such contrast to the disgust with which the elderly are often treated for exactly the same traits which are equally beyond their control.

aj said...

I haven't dared post about my visit to the Elderly Mentally Infirm ward at a North London care home in January. Suffice to say, I was speechless. The general principle was 'They're not locked up, they just don't know how to get out. Besides, they wouldn't get 10 metres down the road anyway...'