Grandmothers are often smart and insightful women. For Dr. Robert McDermid, an ICU doc and hospital administrator, it was his grandmother who taught him what being a doctor truly meant. It was her last lesson of life. As she lay on her death bed, she opened her eyes, and couldn’t understand why she was still alive. She was ready to go onto the next realm.

Unfortunately, medical science typically views death as a failure but as Dr. Rob reminds us – despite advances in medical science the death rate is still – one per person. Having challenging conversations about end-of-life takes courage, whether it’s with your doctor, your loved ones or yourself.

For the past few years, I have been supporting the TEDx Surrey team by creating sketchnotes of presentations and Dr. Rob McDermid’s presentation is amongst some that I have done. There are more examples on my website.

A key insight that Dr. Rob shared was that talking to people about dying helps them get more of what they need while they are living.

I am also a part of VEOLI (Visualizing End-of-Life Issues), a collection of individuals from across the continent, who help visualize and facilitate end-of-life discussions.

One area of focus is helping people to visualize what their final days might look like. Where they are? Who is with them? What is the look and feel of their environment during those final days and hours? At the end of the discussion a Final Days Visual is created.

Of course, you can’t control the future AND just because you’ve articulated what you would like, doesn’t mean it will be exactly as you envisioned. However, we believe that by exploring this important topic, and having a visual record, your end-of-life wishes become easier to discuss with loved ones and with your doctor.

I encourage you to take ten minutes to watch Dr. Rob McDermid’s TEDx talk. Make discussions about end-of-life an important part of life rather than something to fear. I am here for you.

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