FYI Daily

Nearing Life's End, Power of Talk

Last updated:

April 02, 2012

Do you have a vision for how you'd like the end of life to be with your loved one, or when it's your time? In an NPR StoryCorps recording, a dying father and his stepson talk freely in a way any caregiving family might envy.

"For me, dying "” it's very enlightening and certainly rewarding," David Plant, now turning 81, tells his stepson, Frank Lilley. "Look at the opportunity to talk, for example. It's just incredible."

Plant was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010. The cancer has since metastasized to other parts of his body. The two men sat down together as part of the StoryCorps Legacy Project in New London, New Hampshire.

"You know, I was thinking the other day how much I've looked up to you, and used you as an example," says the younger man, who considers Plant, whom his mother married when he was 9, to be his father. "And I realized that's what I'm doing right now, again. I'm watching all of this, and I'm trying to learn how are you handling all this."

"Well, I think in a year from now I won't be here," Plant says.

He says he's not so much anxious about the afterlife as the end-of-life journey. "I want it to be quiet, contemplative, and calm. For me, dying "” it's very enlightening, and certainly rewarding," he says. "Look at the opportunity to talk, for example. It's just incredible. We would coast around having a drink before dinner, never get down to anything that was serious."

Legacy is a common thread in end-of-life conversations, and it's no exception between the two of them.

The dying stepfather says: "I would just like people to believe that humility "” listening to the other person and trying to understand the other person "” and forgiving are important."

Image by Flickr user lovelornpoets, used under a Creative Commons license.