These questions are:
I am struck by how similar these questions are to questions, tools and approaches routinely used in 'person centred practices', tools I learned in my own past practice from teachers I've met and worked with, like Gill Bailey, Helen Sanderson, Michael Smull, John O'Brien.
We found the person centred questions we asked powerful, because they applied as much to ourselves as to the people we were thinking with. They are universal questions that apply to any human being. Of course they are particularly useful when faced with the challenge of a disease or disability, and when the unconscious social response to the presence of such conditions has been to take away choice and control from the person affected.
Thinking about questions like these are a way of winning back some choice and control, of working out what is important to you now and in the future and making sure that this happens, rather than being drowned in a sea of other pressing priorities.
A death where the dying person has won back some control over where and how they die, over who is with them, and crucially how they live well in a way that makes sense to them before they die, which has mindfully included what is important to them could be described as a 'person centred death'.
I've already done a little of this thinking for myself, and shared tools like my one page profile and my history map on this blog. My most recent scan suggests I need to think more urgently about Atul Gawande's questions and my recent time staying at St Catherine's hospice gave me a chance to think about this.
So I've been talking to my wife, who is currently also my main carer (though she doesn't recognise this as a description of her role!). We will be working through some of the tools in 'Living Well' a really good tool for end of life that was designed by people from Lancashire County Council as well as Helen Sanderson Associates. Some examples of them may well get posted on this blog!
I'm really going to have to give some thought to what matters to me. Most of this I'm realising is the people around me. My friends and family, so I'm going to need to think about good ways to spend time with them, and letting them know what they mean to me.