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
What we don’t learn at home about the logistics and benefits of self-empowerment through end-of-life care planning, we are even less likely to learn at school, in the workplace or in our house of worship. When it comes to writing the final script of our lives, clearly one of our most important, we are more often than not simply left to our own solitary devices. But how can this be when we are learning how to write almost every other kind of script, for every other stage in our lives? How does this make sense? Why does one of the most important narratives of our mortal lives receive such neglect by our society? I think we can all agree that our fierce stubbornness to avoid the end-of-life conversation at all costs is not that unusual, but it is certainly not a very helpful strategy for a successful plan of action.