Last Thursday night, March 2, more than 200 people attended a screening of Atul Gawande’s Frontline program “Being Mortal,” and panel discussion by exceptional speakers. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon and the author of the best-selling book by the same name. He speaks poignantly in the documentary about the end-of-life discussions which happen or often times fail to happen between doctors and their patients. Thursday’s program was a collaboration between Jewish Family Service, Boulder JCC, Grillo Stahl Health Lectures, Morningstar Assisted Living and Memory Care, and Kindred Hospice.
Dr. Ilene Naomi Rusk, from the Brain and Behavior Clinic and medical education outreach coordinator for Grillo introduced the film. She summarized the value of healthy end-of-life dialogue in the context of a culture just waking up to our need to lean into our own mortality.
After the film, Dr. Rusk moderated a wonderful panel of experts who offered their engaging opinions on “Being Mortal.” Kim Mooney, a thanatologist (death expert) spoke about how fear, denial, or resistance sometimes keep us from facing our own mortality and suggested ways to overcome that resistance.
Phyllis Coletta, director of The Conversation Project in Boulder County was compelling as she spoke about the importance of appointing a medical decision-maker, and engaging in meaningful conversations about medical care and decisions about death. Rabbi Marc Soloway, from Congregation Bonai Shalom, contributed a rich spiritual perspective from a Jewish point of view.
The question the audience was left to ponder was: How will you live until you die?