By Jennifer Jonely, RN, MSN
When I think of my own death, if I could plan it and have it just the way I wanted it, I would be in my 90’s, having just attended the wedding of my youngest grandchild to the most perfect spouse I could have wished for. I would be surrounded by all of my dearest family and friends and I would be in very soft blankets and there would be kittens, lots of kittens mewing all around me. They would be kneading on my nightgown and cuddling me and they would be pouncing on each other’s tails. Then I would like to comfortably fall asleep, the way Ms. Maynard chose to do it and be content with life and death.
Now, if I contrast that death with one which would be my absolute ‘please don’t let it happen that way’ kind of death, it would be to think about our dear patriots who died on 9/11/2001 and had to choose between being burned to death or jumping to their death in a moment of sheer terror. When I have a family I am working with, I tell them, because we know about this impending death and can think and plan for this death, we might get to have the kittens.
What are your kittens? Thinking about death can be a favor, a positive and very life affirming to get to have wishes fulfilled.
–Jennifer Jonely, RN, MSN is a Perinatal Palliative Care and Loss Coordinator at St. Luke’s Health System, Boise, Idaho, responsible for assessment and needs fulfillment for this population of perinatal palliative care and loss patients in the community who may have a fetal fatal diagnosis in pregnancy, may experience early pregnancy loss, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal death or SIDS across the multiple care settings including Emergency Room, Surgical Areas, Labor/Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or in the clinic settings or community.