June 21, 2010
Tricycle contributing editor Katy Butler recently interviewed Jeff Bridges for our upcoming August issue, and, as frequent visitors to our site know by now, you can watch Jeff and Bernie Glassman shooting the breeze in our two-part online interview.
Katy is a longtime contributor to Tricycle and an accomplished journalist in her own right. Her sharp reporter's eye and compelling style are both in full evidence in her recent New York Times Magazine article "What Broke My Father's Heart." And while it nearly broke my own, the upside is that Katy provided me with plenty of helpful things to consider as my parents age.
Ironically, while so many Americans suffer from the lack of health care, many others suffer because of the advances in medical technology that keep people alive far beyond what they would have wished. There are responsible decisions family members can make if they have the relevant information, although not all doctors have it or are willing to give it. Katy's article will give you an idea of what you may face and how to avoid the needless suffering her family endured.
Tricycle editor-at-large Andrew Cooper, who has been around since the Buddhist Stone Age, writes:
If one can speak of such a thing as Buddhist journalism, then Katy is, as much as anyone, one of its originators and still one its finest practitioners. This article is a deeply touching personal story that also reports on the tragic consequences that even the relatively affluent are vulnerable to in our profit-driven health care system.
For more helpful advice, you might also want to check out Joan Halifax's article "The Lucky Dark: A guide to allowing a gentle and meaningful death for our loved ones and for ourselves."
Not always a topic people want to discuss, but it's never too soon to discuss end-of-life issues. One way or another, our deaths and the deaths of our loved ones are inevitable; the only decision we can make is whether or not we want to prepare for it. For more useful tips on the latter—and for something a little more upbeat in tone—check out this.
Photo: Eugene Richards for the New York Times. The photo on the wall is of Katy Butler's parents as a young couple.