Memento Finis—Remember One Day You Will Be Finished
Christian T. Sinclair, MD FAAHPM
In a presidential election year, it is common to hear the Republican and Democratic candidates declare what they will accomplish in their first 100 days in office. A good start is important. It can set the tone for the rest of your term and help determine what can be accomplished. But a U.S. president serves at least 4 years; as AAHPM president, I only have 1 year. As I am nearly approaching my first 100 days, I recognize I am just as quickly reaching my last 100 days. The sense that my time is limited is strangely familiar because it is clearly echoed in the work that we each do.
To help gain perspective on how much time has passed and how much time I have left as president of the Academy, I looked to the idea of memento mori—symbols to help you remember that you will die. Surrounded by reminders of our mortality at work, it is natural for hospice and palliative care clinicians to think about our own mortality, but rarely do we confront it with a tangible symbol like memento mori. We may acknowledge our own end more than the public, but death remains to be in some vague time in the future.