Ever since Pieter Hintjens’ post, A Protocol for the Dying, made it to top of Hacker News a few days ago, it’s been on my mind. He’s a great and thought-provoking writer, and it’s a wonderful post with a huge amount of useful information. Some of it universal, some of it specific to him.
But one of the things I loved is the post is such a gift to his family and friends. It spells out exactly how they can help him the most, and that is both rare and wonderful.
We all want to help the people we love through the most important moments of their lives. We want to be there to show how much we love them. But sometimes we don’t show up as we’re scared of doing the wrong thing. Or, we do show up but end up doing the wrong thing and carry guilt with us afterwards. Few of us want that.
The question, “How can I help the most?” is one of the most pressing questions friends and family face in such situations. And when someone can spell out specifically how friends and family can help, it’s not just nice, it is a true gift. They finally have a clear understanding of what to do. People want to do the right thing; you just have to make it clear.
Not all of us have the time or energy to setup a “protocol” for how best to help at an important moment. Not all of us are in a place where we can even think about such things while stress, pain, and worry are often more pressing. Which is why we’re building Flower.
The entire purpose of Flower is to help answer the question, “How best can everyone around me help, even when I cannot ask?” It is a difficult problem, but it’s one of the most important problems to solve. I still wish I had known what more I could do for my father in his passing. I think that’s why Pieter’s post touched me so much, as I recognize just what a gift he has given them.