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