Friday, April 08, 2005

A Site Mother Could Love

"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones-the ones at home." Mother Teresa

I just found a website called Aging With Dignity. You should take a look at it.

Yes I know, you can find a Living Will site on every web corner these days, but this one bears further review. Not only for the practical information, which is impressive. But boy hidey, as they say in Texas, for the Spiritual and Political surprises.

First, some background. Aging With Dignity is a nonprofit site dedicated to the premise that we are entitled to age AND to die with dignity. The site's key tool is called FIVE WISHES, a legal guide to prepare for the inevitable. Aging With Dignity - Five Wishes

FIVE WISHES covers everything and then some. It's complete, comprehensive and clear. In their own words: "The Five Wishes document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also encourages discussing your wishes with your family and physician.

"Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:

1. Which person you want to make health care decisions for you when you can't make them.
2. The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want.
3. How comfortable you want to be.
4. How you want people to treat you.
5. What you want your loved ones to know."

Look again at #2 -- "The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want." Got that?

Okay, now for the Spiritual Surprise: the man who founded Aging With Dignity, Jim Towey, was Mother Teresa's lawyer. He lived and volunteered in one of her Homes for the Dying -of AIDS- in Washington, DC. In fact everyone associated with Aging With Dignity is Devoutly Religious. Yet they believe we all have the right to decide for ourselves, and to prepare our families for how we want to die.

Ready for the Political Surprise? It's a one-two punch.
1. Jim Towey is a lifelong Republican from Florida; in fact Aging With Dignity's home base is located right there on Jeb Bush's turf.
2. is listed on the site's Accomplishments page: "February 2002 President Bush appoints Aging with Dignity Founder, Jim Towey, as the Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives."

Whoa, this guy's on the Bush team! He's one of them, a True Believer. So where was Mr. Towey during the Terri Schaivo debacle? Certainly not on Jeb or George W's call sheet. Did Tom DeLay or any of his wingnut colleagues seek out Mr. Towey to learn what he light he could shed on the debate?

Apparently not. If they'd bothered to ask, he might have told them something they didn't want to hear ... that all of us -saints and sinners alike- have the right to determine the path to our own final destiny.

If there is a Life Beyond, I sure hope Mother Teresa is helping Terri Schaivo find the peace she was denied on earth.

The FIVE WISHES document can be downloaded here.

I urge you to do so. I bet Mother would be pleased.



Blogger David Goldenberg said...

Here is what Christopher Hitchens says about Mother Theresa:"...I couldn't help but notice that she had rallied to the side of the Duvalier family in Haiti, for instance, that she had taken money - over a million dollars - from Charles Keating, the Lincoln Savings and Loans swindler, even though it had been shown to her that the money was stolen; that she has been an ally of the most reactionary forces in India and in many other countries; that she has campaigned recently to prevent Ireland from ceasing to be the only country in Europe with a constitutional ban on divorce, that her interventions are always timed to assist the most conservative and obscurantist forces."

2:44 PM  

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