Mary Riesche Studios

Ending life on our own terms

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Ending life on your terms | Opinion | The Seattle Times. by syndicated columnist, Froma Harrop.

Being prepared, well in advance of needing to be, will serve you well.

All our lives, we set out on new adventures having prepared for them to the best of our abilities:

  • First day of school;
  • The start of a new job;
  • Preparing for a first date;
  • Wedding preparations;
  • Organizing a Holiday meal;
  • Even something as mundane as putting together a grocery shopping list.
Painting courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios
Painting courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios

We know how to be at our best, and being at our best means painstakingly and carefully preparing for important events in our life.  You didn’t personally have the option of preparing for your birth, but you do have the option, right now, to prepare for your death.

Carpe diem.

What does it mean to end our life on our own terms?  This doesn’t have to be a controversial topic.  I’m not talking about assisted suicide/right to die matters.  What I am talking about, however, is the importance of each of us to spell out in painstakingly and carefully prepared language, all that you want done – or not done – when you are determined to have an irreversible fatal disease.

Death is such a taboo subject.

Why is that?  None of us will avoid the inevitable, but many of us avoid laying down our wishes regarding that final time in our lives.  The subject matter of the attached article relates to medical insurance companies reimbursing medical professionals for end-of-life counseling provided to their patients.  I repeat, this counseling is not controversial.  As Ms. Harrop states, “Critics of end-of-life discussions argue the doctors would ‘push’ patients to end their lives prematurely.  Why would doctors do that?  Where’s the financial incentive in losing a patient?”

The report Dying in America calls on Congress “to end the ‘perverse’ financial incentives that rush fragile patients into invasive medical treatments they’d prefer to avoid.”  That being the case, it seems to me that counseling a patient about their dying wishes hurts, more than helps, the physician’s bottom line, so forget the nonsense about doctors encouraging patients to die sooner than later.  That’s just hogwash.

“Meanwhile, there’s evidence that for some very ill people, a palliative approach may extend life longer than industrial-strength medicine.”  And certainly ones final days without the poison of chemotherapy that has no prospect of curing a cancer, would be far more comfortable than if that therapy had been employed.  “In a study of terminal lung cancer patients, the group that chose hospice care actually lived three months longer than those subjected to hard chemotherapy.”  Again, that would be a more pleasant exit from this life than suffering the ravages of a chemo treatment that is not curative in nature.

“An end-of-life talk with a doctor spells out the options.  Patients can use it as a basis for filling out an advance care directive – a form listing which treatments they would want or not want.”  And let’s not forget that such a document only comes into play if the patient can no longer speak/express his or her wishes regarding their care.  An advance care directive is a legal document and as such, spells out when it can be put in motion, and when it can not.  If ever there’s a time when you can benefit from being a control freak, your final days is it.

This legal document is not just for the older population.

Once you’re considered an adult, you can decide what you want regarding your life.  Don’t wait until it’s too late and someone else decides medical matters without your input.

Mary Riesche: artist – and sister – extraordinaire

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Future artist, Mary Desonier Riesche
Future artist, Mary Desonier Riesche

My sister, Mary, has been an artist since she could hold a crayon and a water color brush in her hand.  Without giving away her age, I’ll just say that she’s been an artist for quite a few years because she is close in age to myself.

Mary in her garage studio
Mary in her garage studio

This article honors the consistency and commitment that my sister has exercised in her quest to maintain and hone her talent.  Her husband was in the United States Navy when she married him, a career that deposited the two of them and their ever growing family, all over the United States and the world.  She could have put down her sketching pencils, acrylics, and oils and figured that until the kids are grown up and out of the house, she wouldn’t have time for her artistic endeavors.  But she didn’t.  She managed her family single-handedly – and excellently I might add – while her husband was away at sea, never neglecting her family nor the craft that she loves so much.

Mary has been so diligent on this artistic journey, that I can only recall one time when she could not work on her craft.  Mary broke her right wrist falling down in front of a grocery store near her Vacaville, California neighborhood several years ago, and as happens after we cross a certain age threshold, bones break easier and take longer to heal.  But my sister was only sidelined for as long as absolutely necessary while she completed her physical therapy regimen and then – almost as good as new – she again took up the tools of her craft to pour her heart, soul, and energy into each piece.

And now that my sister and her husband are retired – and their five children are all grown and the number of grandchildren has recently increased to six – Mary continues to pick up the tools that she discovered as a youngster, and consistently makes efforts to expand her talents.

The artist in April 2014 at one of many craft fairs she attends through the year.
The artist in April 2014 at one of many craft fairs she attends through the year.

Now this is where you come in.  I strongly encourage you to visit Mary Riesche Studios so that you can get to know a bit more about this artistic family member of mine, and while you’re at it, browse a sampling of her current inventory of pieces that are for sale.  She loves what she does so much, and is so committed to what she loves to do, she will even create a custom piece to fit your home, business, or organization’s needs.

Do yourself a favor, browse the Mary Riesche Studios website, and then contact the artist to discern how her talent can benefit your personal or commercial environment.