Archive for September 18th, 2009

Suza Francina Helps an Elderly Friend Die Peacefully at Home

September 18, 2009

When I interviewed author and yoga instructor Suza Francina for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, she told me about her experience helping an elderly friend of hers die at home. It’s a sacred and powerful story, which I’ll start with her bio:


Suza Francina

Suza, who prefers to be known by her first name, is a pioneer in the field of teaching yoga to seniors. She is the author of The New Yoga for People Over 50, Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause, and The New Yoga for Healthy AgingShe is a graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. A consultant for medical research studies on yoga, Suza teaches yoga internationally to people of all ages in a wide variety of settings. Click here to visit Suza’s website.

When one of Ruth’s friends called and said that Ruth wanted to see me, I didn’t think anything of it. When I walked into her apartment, her neighbor Betty, who was helping Ruth with her meals, was dumping oatmeal down the sink. She told me quite casually that Ruth was going to starve herself to death. Apparently, Ruth had had another stroke, was having memory lapses, and didn’t want to wait so long that she couldn’t make this decision.

Betty said that Ruth had considered this a few times before, and even had fasted for a short while, because she didn’t want to become dependent. The fact that she had lost control of her bowels and bladder was the last straw. She didn’t like people having to come in and change her diaper.

When I went into Ruth’s room, she was relaxing on her bed. I sat with her and she explained to me that she was ready to stop eating and that she wanted to (more…)