What does it take to face our own mortality? - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

What does it take to face our own mortality?

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There's one experience we all share as people, but it's something most of us don't like to think or talk about, our own mortality.

There are different ways people approach the end of their life.

For some, it may be a time of sadness, and for others it's a time to have faith, or a renewed appreciation of life.

KSFY News took a look at what it means to face death.

Some people believe if it's your time to die, it's your time, but what if you knew when your time had come? How would you face death?

Frank Orthmeyer said "I'm not thinking about a day or two or a month or two, i'm still thinking about a year and a half or two ahead yet."

Frank's wife Inez was there when he got the news.

"That word hospice is frightening, and I think that at first , you tend to reject it, you don't want to believe it," Inez Orthmeyer said.

"And I haven't quite come up with the idea that i won't make it," Frank Orthmeyer said.

"I was always more sure about it than the doctor was," Frank Orthmeyer added.

His doctor told him he has a terminal heart problem.

"It's a flutter.  I figure my heart's working about halfway," Frank Orthmeyer said.

"It's a little hard to get around and walk and so forth, I get tired quick, I'm out of breath, it takes time," Frank Orthmeyer said.

But there are a few comforts of home that keep Frank going.

"Family, and my wife, and my wood carving," Frank Orthmeyer said.

As well as at-home hospice care. Scary words to hear for most, but Frank's nurse says it doesn't have to be.

Certified nurse practitioner Shawn Myhre said "our goal is to keep him as independent as possible, for as long as possible. He's been on service with us now for about five months. Frank and Inez really just enjoy every day that they have, every day is a gift."

"And that's one reason we can keep up our hope, as he said, I look ahead, so we plan for the future, and we don't dwell on what might be going to happen," Inez Orthmeyer said.

But Inez does worry about facing the loss of her best friend of 63 years.

"I do," Inez Orthmeyer said.

And what keeps her going?

"My faith," Inez Orthmeyer added.

Pastor Tim Selbo believes faith brings comfort to those approaching the end of their life.

"It's been very peaceful, knowing that I've lived my life and god has had me in his embrace and that, that embrace doesn't stop, doesn't end," Pastor Selbo said.

But Pastor Tim admits it's difficult.

"God's a god of life, and wants life for us, wants abundant life, vibrant life. I think in our culture and society, we want that too, and so death's a hard thing to think about, death's a hard thing to face," Pastor Selbo said.

Something funeral director Tim Wingen faces every day.

"We deal with families that say good-bye in their own way, whether it's through their religion, through the celebration of a life, the way they would like to celebrate," Wingen said.

Siouxland Free Thinkers president Amanda Novotny is someone who doesn't think about death, dying, or beyond.

"I absolutely think we have this one life. We have this one short period of time, in which to accomplish everything that we need to do. I think as an atheist, I think a lot more about life, than I do about death," Novotny said.

So is death a scary thought?

"It's still is hard and there still is grief, no question about that but it's something that we can face with confidence," Pastor Selbo said.

"I have my faith. I believe that death isn't the end. Now that doesn't make it any easier, and I don't want to die and I don't want to go anywhere but it doesn't scare me," Wingen said.

"I think it can be but I've also thought about how I can create a legacy for myself, and i think in that way, that's an afterlife for me," Novotny said.

"I've thought about it, and I think, one of these days I just won't wait up and that will be the end," Frank Orthmeyer said.

Many of us may end up in a cemetery after we die. Every headstone marks the memories of someone's hopes, dreams, regrets and a life lost. How some choose to live their lives makes a difference in how they choose to face death. 

Dealing with the end of life is a difficult subject to discuss.

But, the Orthmeyers can inspire us all, they appreciate each and every day they have - to live and love life.
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