End of life: Deserves as much attention as the beginning Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

As we conclude the month of October — designated as Respect Life Month — it seems appropriate to reflect on end-of-life issues.

Doesn’t it seem that our society today pays much more attention to the beginning of life than the end of it? We get excited about the birth of a baby. We have baby showers, spend time getting the nursery decorated, and send out birth announcements when the baby is born. We buy cards and gifts for the new child.

Preparing for death and dying

But what about the end of life? It seems like we don’t like to think as much about death and dying. Some people put off making a will or writing down their wishes for their funeral arrangements.

Sadly, I have known people who have died suddenly and didn’t have any preparations made. It puts their surviving relatives and friends in a difficult situation.

There is also the fact that some people who are sick and dying do not have the kind of support and care they need. There are many community and Church resources available today to help those who are terminally ill and their friends and family cope with end-of-life issues. Hospice programs are especially good resources, as are county programs on aging.

Catholic faith provides comfort, hope

Our Catholic faith also provides much comfort and hope at the time of death. The month of November begins with the Feast of All Saints, observed on Saturday, Nov. 1.

What does this feast have to do with death? It ties in beautifully, because as Catholics, we believe in the “communion of saints.” We believe that there is and always will be a connection between the living and the dead.

All Saints Day is followed closely by All Souls’ Day and Cemetery Sunday on Nov. 2. Since 1978, the National Catholic Cemetery Conference has observed Cemetery Sunday as a day set aside to pray for the deceased and to visit the graves of loved ones and friends.

My husband and I recently stopped to pray at the cemetery in La Crosse where some of our relatives are buried. It was an opportunity to remember them and pray for them.

Let us all pray, “May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”