When we talk about death the inevitable question comes up, should we value length of time we have with our loved ones or quality of life?
No one can answer this question except you. Likely, you won't have an answer until you are nearing your end of life. You have to consider whether it is more important to be able to connect, communicate, and contribute until the end, or is your very presence what you want. This answer changes depending on your fears and your values. If you fear the end often you are going to want to have quantity but if you value the interactions you have as a healthy person you may be interested in quality.
Perhaps you are trying to make it to a wedding or a birth of a child. You might be willing to reduce your quality to extend quantity. You might be interested in getting the last few things ticked off your bucket list and be willing to sacrifice quantity to have that quality at the end.
There is no right answer. There is no way that is better for you. There is no answer that is universal and your family might be interested in having you lay low to have a longer time with you. They may want you to have that last adventure, but their desires for you are coming from their love for you, and in some ways selfishness. Often, you will have several different opinions that people are pushing at you, only you can know what you want here.
What we can do is work on letting go of the fear of death that we have while we are healthy. We need to look at what we want in our death and in our life to even be able to start to work on quality or quantity. When you are able to see, with the clarity of reflection on your life, and knowing we will all die one day, we can start to decide if quality or quantity is what we want.
Looking at our lives and deciding how we want to be remembered will help make this an easier decision. Do you want to be remembered as the matron and holding the new baby even as you slip away? Or do you want to be remembered as the adventurer climbing that mountain as your body begins to fail.
Our families are going to want what they think is best for us, it is, in the end, our decision and not theirs. If you are holding on and sacrificing quality for the birth of a child or other event you do need to face there will always be another event just around the corner. If you are willing to sacrifice time to climb that mountain, there will always be another mountain you want to climb. The cruelty and beauty of life is that there is an end. The lives of the people you love will continue to march on and you will miss things no matter how long you are able to hang on. There is always another adventure, or hike, or piece of art to make.
The only thing we can do is work through our fears of the end and decide, and reconsider as we age, what our best life and death is.
My name is Abby, my life has been touched many times by loss and grief. This life has led me to helping others navigate their own grief. I have become a INELDA trained End Of Life Doula and a hospice volunteer. I am not a professional counselor or psychologist and all advice given should be treated as advice from a friend.