What is Your "Best Day Possible"?

What is Your “Best Day Possible”?

Describing your best day possible can demonstrate what quality of life means to you.

In his new book, Being Mortal, Dr. Atul Gawande reflects on our individual and societal struggle to accept our mortality. Through beautiful stories from his medical practice and his family, he explores how patients and families express what truly matters at the end of life. Gawande researches how medicine and society respond, and he shares his insights on how we can do better.

Author Atul Gawande

Author, surgeon, and New York Times writer Dr. Atul Gawande

In a related New York Times Sunday Review post titled, The Best Day Possible, Gawande writes: “…in medicine and society, we have failed to recognize that people have priorities that they need us to serve besides just living longer.” Amen. Due to the incredible advances in technology and science in the past twenty years, the end-of-life has been molded into a medical event.

As a speaker and author striving to inspire families to prepare for the end-of-life journey, I emphatically preach that writing a meaningful healthcare directive requires more than merely checking a box to authorize—or refuse—resuscitation. The end of life is a profoundly personal process, says Dr. Ira Byock in his book Dying Well. Dying touches every dimension of the human experience: physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual.

Thoughtful preparation requires honest reflection about the life we are living. We need to give voice to what matters most. In order to consider our priorities and goals for late-life care, each person must grapple with the question: what makes life worth living? An entire chapter of my book, My Voice, My Choice, is devoted to helping people explore and communicate what a meaningful quality of life means to them.

I highly recommend Dr. Gawande’s post in the New York Times. The story he shares about his daughter’s piano teacher is both moving and instructive. As her experience reflects, it is possible to live well, even while wading through the end-of-life journey.

QUESTION: In response to Dr. Gawande’s post, how would you define the “best day possible” if you were living with a terminal illness? Would you please share your story and inspire others via social media? Please share this post with your comment.

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