You get a call, your brother's in the hospital, he's been in an accident. You don't know what that means. When I got to the hospital, he was lying in the hospital bed, and he looked perfectly fine in terms of no blood or anything. It was all an internal head injury. He was in a coma and he couldn't talk, but he looked good.
Everyone and everything on this planet will face the same fate. Stories make it easier, and these are those. This is the Death Diaries podcast. I am your host, Paul King.
In this episode we hear from Bob "Hoff" Hoffman, who openly shares with us why planning for death is so important to him, and how the freak accident death of his brother played a role in it all.
Dear Diary, I came from the same traditional family experience that many of us encountered about talking about our death. Talking about end of life issues was not a comfortable conversation, and in fact was avoided at all times, and all occasions.
My mother would say, "Don't talk about it," and my father would have to agree. So I was left on my own with my own fears and trepidations for many years. Therefore, I came up with my own negative belief system that the end of life would be horrible, painful, and lead to a vast emptiness, nothingness, darkness.
I'm very happy today that my views have come a long way, much healthier, much happier, much more optimistic. So much so that I'm always looking for opportunities to discuss the various aspects of the end game. I often try to find ways to gently initiate this death and dying conversation wherever it's appropriate. In fact, after a dinner party last week with eight people sitting around the dining room table, after the conversation, my best friend said sarcastically to me, "You know, Hoff, you used to be the life of the party. Now you're the death of a party."
I know that he meant it in a kind and actually appreciated the in-depth conversation that the group had experienced. This evolution in my attitude was prompted by many things over the years, the deaths of my mother, father and brother, each of whom died with different stages of what I would call preparation. My father from a sudden heart attack at age 70, my brother from an accident at age 40, and my mother from pancreatic cancer at age 84.
These deaths led to a passion for me to jump into the many aspects of the world of death and dying and how to prepare. Now I feel more ready and prepared. What does that mean? I've done a lot of research through books, podcasts, lectures, death cafes, meditation and many other ways. I've done much in preparation through the completion of legal documents, confirming death and dying plans, conversations with family and friends, writing my own obituary, providing a cremation ashes distribution plan, and planning the celebration that is scheduled to follow my death.
The results of all this preparation is that I now have much more peace of mind. I'm readier than ever before to live a full life now and have a smooth transition when the time comes. And as with all of us, it will come.