Scott Simon: 48 Hours With Dying Mom Sad and 'Exhilarating'

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"One of the most profound comments I read was how he held his mother's hand so tightly," Doka said of Simon. "Don't wait until the end to say, 'I love you.' That is an awesome life lesson."

Although Twitter is a modern mode of communication, societies over the centuries have had their own tools, Doka said.

"When you look at the pyramids, we have always reached out to death and dying and this is our most current technology, our monument," he said.

But NYU's ethicist Caplan still worries about the ethics of informed consent and who gives permission to make private moments public?

"[Simon] is a very savvy media person who understands privacy and confidentiality issues and has decided, for whatever reason, that it is helpful to him and might be beneficial to others," he said.

Caplan recommends families discuss these issues with their loved ones before the time of death. Or at least include a mention in advanced directives or living wills.

"It's good to have an opportunity to talk about it," Caplan said. "One hundred years ago, you would be present at the death of a loved one, but now, it's not as common. People die in hospitals.

"Sharing some of that is important," he said. "Society finds it very difficult to talk about death and dying. But it would be better if we could get people to talk about it before and not in the middle of it."

As for Simon, who is was still in Chicago, visiting the cemetery to make plans for his mother's interment, he said, "We are OK. Talking so much about my mother and being surrounded by her things in her apartment, I have this most distracting sense that she is still with us."

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