Death At 25: Blogging The End Of Life

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

Death is part of life either we want it or not, so we might as well become friendly.  One of the good things that have come out of the age of social networking is the sharing of subjects societies have kept to themselves for a very long time.  Thanks to some brave and honest souls we have the opportunity to come close to situations and feelings that in their rawness and devastation will remind us to cherish our lives and love.

Much love to Eva Markvoort who is no longer with us and whose courage has inspired many.

Eva Markvoort started her blog, 65_RedRoses, to document her  struggles with cystic fibrosis.

Eva Markvoort started her blog, 65_RedRoses, to document her struggles with cystic fibrosis.

(CNN) — The former beauty queen stared into the camera, but this was no pageant or performance. She looked frail and thin, and her hair was rumpled. But Eva Markvoort smiled weakly.

“Hello to the world at large,” she said in the video. “To my blog, to my friends, to everyone. I have some news today. It’s kinda tough to hear, but I can say it with a smile.” Propped in a hospital bed, Markvoort sat surrounded by her family. “My life is ending.”

Markvoort had cystic fibrosis, an incurable disease that causes mucus to accumulate in the lungs. For nearly four years, she narrated an unvarnished blog about life with a terminal disease. Even when it appeared unlikely that she would receive a second double lung transplant, the 25-year-old continued to chronicle life on her blog.

The public sharing of one’s last thoughts is a way to acknowledge that the end is near, but it also destigmatizes death for others, said medical experts who work with terminally ill patients.

In the Internet age, many people reflect on their lives through video, personal blogs and larger websites such as CaringBridge.org, where people who have major health events connect and share online.

“What we’re seeing over the last decade, we are gradually moving from a culture that had become during the 20th century, very closed about death,” said Dr. Chris Feudtner, research director of Palliative Care Services at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

A cultural shift has occurred, he said, referring to columnists and Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who discussed their impending deaths with frankness. Pausch’s last lecture, urging students to fearlessly pursue their dreams, went viral on YouTube in 2007, getting more than 11 million views.

Their line of thinking may be, “I’m still alive. I don’t want to be closed. I want connection. I want to be able to share what I’m learning on this journey,” Feudtner said.

Bloggers like Miles Levin, an 18-year-old who had a rare soft-tissue cancer and died in 2007, and Michelle Lynn Mayer, a 39-year-old mother who had scleroderma and died in 2008, shared their thoughts on living and dying, too.

“We all tend to be open via video, blog or Facebook about what we do every day. It’s hardly surprising that openness extends to people’s last days or weeks,” said Dr. David Cassarett, author of the book “Last Acts,” about end-of-life decisions…Continued

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Self Love…

May 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Last night I had a small interaction that reminded me of when I was first putting this site together.

I asked a few friends of mine to write essays or post blogs for this site.  I have many friends that are writers and I thought it would be wonderful to launch with these very well written pieces. 

They all said yes but as the deadline approached, I started to get the “I’m sorry but I’m so busy can I write something next time around?” or the “I tried but I just had no inspiration to write about love”.

At the time I was reading Arianna Huffington’ book about blogging and one of the things the book describes is the process of reaching out to others to contribute to the blog. She was able to get commitments from many people including some of high visibility.

So I thought is the subject of politics more interesting or important than the subject of love? Or is Arianna more important than me?

Right about now you reading this could say that I have a complex of inferiority – maybe.  But the point I’m trying to make is that if I was highly successful it would be easier to get others to want to do things with me but I would still be the same person just with more money and maybe more self assured but basically the same person. What would be different would be outside of me. 

My point in discussing this seemingly small point is the fact that we/I can’t have a sense of worth or self love based on others as their interaction with us/me sometimes is based on things that are outside of us and not really about whom we truly are as people.

I for one will try to keep remembering that the truth of whom I am and my own value as a person is independent from how others see me and react to me.  And to those friends who have contributed to the site, to my life and love me for whom I am my deep thanks.

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