Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 41

I had a neighbor who was alone. For him, it was like “Yes death, come on and just do it." He had an experience that he was dying. He felt his spirit rising. He was looking down at his body. And then someone woke him up. He said he was actually angry because he felt that was his time, that he was finally going to be with his wife and friends. Some people want to die privately without any social contact. Some dying people are surrounded by family with everybody talking and doing things around their bed. I've seen that sometimes when someone is lying on their death bed, with the family around, they aren’t able to die. Eventually, when the family leaves or is even just getting a coffee, they are like "click", gone. My next door neighbor was 105. I dropped by to say hello on my way to school. She took my hand and said, “Farewell, have a good life.” I was caught totally by surprise. I could feel that she was dead when I arrived at school. When I came back she was already in a coffin. Some people on their deathbed have so much to tell about themselves, so many stories. They feel pride in what they have accomplished, and the way that they have lived, and they are confident that they are going to do it at the next stage, and the next. I like that. That's what I want to do as well. I want to be on my deathbed and say, "I am Jurrien and these are my stories, and I've been there, and I've done that. It wasn't always good, and it wasn't always nice, but after all, this is who I am." It’s ideal if we can do that. But perhaps it’s just my youth talking. JURRIËN MENTINK currently lives with his girlfriend in Zutphen, a town not far from Humanitas. He used to study Urban Design but is now studying business management. Jurriën wants to be a consultant who can trigger and implement different kinds of innovations within healthcare organizations such as Humanitas. He has to learn how organizations work, their processes, and how to inspire staff members to improve. Together with colleagues and elderly people, he hopes to create organizations where everyone has freedom to put their unique personalities into play as agents and recipients of enlightened healthcare. When I first moved to Humanitas, the concept was that I would donate thirty hours a month, making superficial contact, doing small jobs and stuff. But I didn’t expect that I would become close with so many residents. It’s by living together, being around one another, that we are really slowly saying goodbye to each other. There’s a feeling that these are their last days. Sometimes we just sit together, looking out the window watching birds flying above the trees. Sometimes they cannot remember my name. But that’s fine with me. From a conversation with John Wadsworth VOLUME III | 41