Last night, President Biden addressed the nation as we passed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from illness related to COVID 19. A candle lighting ceremony at the White House commemorated the loved ones who have been lost. Flags will fly at half-mast for the next five days.
Because of the pandemic, most of the deceased were denied the honor of a memorial service or funeral that included extended family and friends. The pandemic has changed many things, including how we grieve.
The pandemic has perhaps also forced our attention on the need to anticipate and navigate end of life issues in a way we weren’t focused pre-COVID. The conversations about how to plan for the end of our lives, and the lives of those we love are conversations that many of us are reluctant to have.
We talk a lot about the wonders and joy birth. Books that celebrate the critical and life-changing step into parenthood abound. Birth is, of course, a fundamental dimension of the human experience. But so is death. And our timidity and queasiness to talk about it are understandable.
But we can have agency when it comes to decisions surrounding our final passage. Tom's first guests today have written a book about those decisions. Dr. Dan Morhaim is an emergency medicine physician who served in the MD legislature for 24 years. Shelley Morhaim is a filmmaker, and a therapeutic music practitioner for hospice and hospital patients. Their new book is called Preparing for a Better End: Expert Lessons on Death and Dying for You and Your Loved Ones.
Dan and Shelley Morhaim join us today on Zoom.