What a few weeks it’s been since my last blog. A lot has changed for all of us. However, some of the themes I’ve explored in previous blogs are as relevant as ever. We all need Moments of Meaning to make sense of the massive changes happening in our day to day lives.
Now Corona Virus is affecting all the world’s population, the saying ‘Live for Today and Plan for Tomorrow’ is very relevant. At this moment, we are Living Life Whilst Facing Death. In tough times, it gives us the opportunity to see how living life to the full, is a very precious gift.
Living for today
Creating and noticing moments of meaning can make a big difference. To those who are self isolating, a meaningful chat on the phone with a friend or relative can be a way of emotionally connecting and lifting spirits. For those working longer in essential roles, a moment with loved ones after a long shift can have more meaning as time is so precious. For frontline NHS staff caring for patients experiencing life threatening symptoms, seeing a patient recover is reward for their hard work. It’s also a major success if a patient dies with the loving support they deserve, in a way they themselves have chosen. Excellent palliative and end of life care is needed now more than ever.
Planning for Tomorrow
As well as finding moments of meaning in our changed everyday lives, it’s more important than ever, to be prepared for tomorrow. Thinking about our preferences of how we would like to be cared for if our life was in the final stage is so important. Communicating this to our loved ones and writing it down gives us more of a chance of having our preferences fulfilled. There are a few documents you can complete that will help you collate your wishes, both legal and non-legal. Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Finance/Health and Welfare), DNACPR ( Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Rescusitation), Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment and Preferred Priorities of Care/Advance Statement are all ways of recording our wishes. More information on each is available on Compassion in Dying’s website (compassionindying.org.uk) with online facilities to record some aspects of your wishes.
The Silver Lining
In these difficult days, there are so many acts of kindness happening. Many of these happen every day under more normal circumstances. However, there’s a greater focus on compassionate care as we go through these tough times. A few examples I’ve seen include:
– The level of commitment shown by NHS staff and emergency services. Council workers and social care staff. Retail staff and support workers. All continue providing the best possible service in very difficult circumstances.
– The uptake of volunteering through GoodSam and local neighbourhoods. These support people in our local community to access what they need and reduce isolation. Volunteering goes on every day but at the moment, volunteers are being recognised for the invaluable input they make to our society.
– Amazingly funny clips in social media to raise our spirits and make us laugh. Those creatives amongst us who turn their abilities to making us laugh and enjoy life, have an important part to play in keeping perspective when life is tough.
Taking my daily walk this evening, I heard many bird songs. These sounds are more prominent at the moment as the background noise of daily life is reduced. When restrictions are lifted and we return to travelling, socialising and working in our usual environments, I hope we take with us the moments of meaning we’ve experienced and a general sense of compassionate care for others.