Perspectives on Life & Hospice

  • Green Leaf Closeup

    The Catalyst

    In biology class, we learn how plants grow. A green plant uses sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugars that the plant uses as energy. We call this process photosynthesis, and it doesn’t happen without help. It needs a catalyst, something that helps to expedite the chemical reaction. In photosynthesis, the catalyst is chlorophyll, which ...

  • My Last Supper

    Few of us get to choose our last meal on earth. Death row inmates do, and researchers report that those awaiting execution often ask for classic American comfort food: french fries, hamburgers, steak, pie and ice cream.

    But most of us consume our last meal unaware that it will be our last. We toss the taco wrapper in the trash, step out onto the ...

  • Hindu Dancer

    It Matters

    In Hinduism, there is a spiritual practice called darsan. When we dance in celebration in the temple, in the presence of the statues and images of the gods and goddesses, we make darsan. We make eye contact with them.

    We believe that when we make darsan—when we behold the beloved one steadily and lovingly—we can ...

  • End-of-Life Option Act

    In explaining his recent signing of the End-of-Life Option Act, Governor Brown wrote, “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill."

    These comments highlight a general lack of understanding about ...

  • A Physician’s Perspective on Hospice

    I believe that each hospice patient provides me with the opportunity to visit their “house.” I imagine their life as a long house with a door at either end. The house is filled with all of their hopes and dreams, happiness and sadness, disappointments and fears, tears and smiles, occupations and skills, loves gained and lost. It has pictures of family ...

  • Whatever It Is That I Am

    Today, I visited Mrs. H. We sat on the patio under the shade of three tall redwoods. The afternoon air was soft and warm. Mrs. H enjoyed a cookie and a glass of fruit punch while I read to her from an illustrated storybook. We exchanged a few words about the delights of the overgrown, late summer garden—flowers, stones, hummingbirds, moving ...