Both Sides, Now
From the time we are born to the time we die, there is a lot of living to do in between.
Each person’s life is both a container of memories and a vessel of mixed emotions. Something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.
BOTH SIDES, NOW is a multi-disciplinary immersive arts experience held over 3 weeks at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital that invites audiences to engage, reflect and share their thoughts and stories on what it means to live well, and leave well – to look again, from both sides.
Talking about death and dying does not have to be morbid or taboo, scary or sad. It can be simple and gentle, hopeful and calm. It can remind us how we want to live and what is important to us.
An Invitation to Respond
Have you thought about end-of-life issues either for yourself, or wonder what are your loved ones' wishes and preferences for care at the end-of-life, or at any stage where they are unable to make decisions for themselves?
Have you ever had conversations with loved ones and friends around these issues?
Areas for conversation could include the following questions:
- What activities or experiences are the most important for you to live well?
- What helps you face serious challenges in life?
- What fears and worries do you have about living, and your health and medical care?
- What are your preferences, values and goals regarding end-of-life care?
- Is there someone you can trust to act in your best interest when you can no longer make your own decisions?
- Where is your preferred place of end-of-life treatment and death?
Having these conversations is also part of a process called Advance Care Planning (ACP).
Having an Advance Care Plan is important as advances in medical technology enables more forms of treatment to be made available, but not all treatments result in a cure or ensure quality of life. Some of these treatments may be painful, and inevitably cause more suffering, both for the patient, as well as caregivers who have to watch their loved ones suffer. In such cases where one is already facing death, some forms of medical treatment may be futile but unless one has expressed a clear wish to reject these treatments to prolong life, they may be administered by healthcare professionals.
Thinking about, and having conversations around end-of-life issues also helps prepare us for when we might become caregivers and need to facilitate decision-making processes for those under our care. Having looked at these areas beforehand enables us to approach our caregiving with knowledge, empathy and insight.
Click here to find out more about ACP and how to go about preparing an Advance Care Plan.
The aim of BOTH SIDES, NOW is to create awareness, encourage reflection and provoke conversations around end-of-life issues among healthcare professionals, caregivers and the general public. It is never too early to think about, and share end-of-life concerns and wishes, recognising that death and dying is a natural and inevitable part of living.
Being able to talk openly about death and dying with trust and respect can result in greater clarity about our end-of-life wishes and inform the decisions we make about the type, quality and place of care we would prefer.
As humans, we are all different and unique – with different values and approaches to living and dying. No two lives, and deaths are the same. In both living and dying, we have choices to make, and in making them mindfully, we can create meaningful experiences for ourselves, for those around us and those we leave behind.
Commissioned by the Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation, this project is the first-ever effort in death education involving an arts-based cvic engagement approach.