In My Words

Categories: Blog, Chronic illness, Creative, end of life, Legacy, Medical profession, Uncategorized|

"I've spent over a decade in critical care, in that time I've seen my fair share of patients as they face the end of their life. Whether expected or unexpected, it is always hardest for the families. Many times the patient doesn't know they're dying, there are breathing tubes, gastric tube, catheters, sedation and analgesia. While dying is something that happens to everyone it is expected to want to buy more time. It's so final that often times families can't let go, they hold onto every ounce of hope that they hear often ignoring the bigger picture. When families know the end is near they try and control the uncontrollable. Even with a wonderful palliative care team helping the family cope, the patient's wishes are often ignored prolonging the inevitable. What these family members don't realize is that their family member is suffering. If they could only feel the endotracheal


Categories: Blog, end of life, Legacy|

Here at The Final Acts Project, one of the words we like to use is “legacy.” It’s a big, fancy word. We’d all like to leave our legacy. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important? I believe that “legacy” means capturing the essence of an individual’s life, the part of a person that will live on beyond death. Sadly, the full richness of a person’s life is often not on display until a funeral service, where an entire personal history is recalled by loved ones in a special ceremony. Isn’t it strange that often, we wait until someone has died to honor his or her life and give it the remembrance it deserves? Because our society is often uncomfortable discussing death, focusing on someone’s legacy also may be neglected. No ceremony highlights someone’s legacy until that person has achieved an advanced age, is gravely ill, or

The Poet’s Legacy

Categories: Blog, Legacy|

Every family has at least one poet. My great-grandmother, Inez Lea Hannah, was our family’s poet. Between the ages of 12 and 13, she began writing poetry focused on the rural landscapes of the Ozarks. By the time she was eighteen, her poems were being picked up by the local papers. Unfortunately, very few of her writings remain. Mostly stuffed into drawers, old shoeboxes and now fragile books through the years, I still managed to slowly piece together a small collection of her work. This is the part of her legacy I know she would want our family to enjoy, and enjoy I do. My great-grandmother was great admirer of Robert Frost, and I often imagine her as a young girl longing to write in his rural, New England voice, though her tradition was distinctly rural, Midwestern. A book of Frost’s poetry sat next to her Bible on the old