Notes on Life and Death

In my work in acute care, I loved working with palliative care teams. Striving for quality of life, and dignity in death, is something I care about deeply. While I am less involved in this work in my current outpatient setting, this still comes up for certain patients, such as those with progressive neurological conditions.

I recently listened to a thought-provoking episode of Note to Self called Messages From the Beyond, which discusses some current tech startups, such as Safe Beyond. These companies allow people to leave messages, emails, photos, and even videos for loved ones, to be delivered at some time after their death.

Setting aside my own feelings on how it might feel to receive a message from someone whose loss I’m grieving, the thing that strikes me most is that the driving force behind it all is communication. A fundamental desire to keep communicating. This is not completely dissimilar to voice and message banking for those with progressive conditions such as ALS. The fundamental difference I see is that the former’s goal is to keep one’s memory alive, while the latter’s goal is remind you they’re still alive.