Cynthia Emiry Roy is more familiar with thinking about end of life than most people: she is president and CEO of the Danbury, CT, nonprofit, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care. She has dedicated her life and career toward helping families and patients have the best end-of-life experiences possible. “I believed I could create an environment that could help people die beautifully,” she said in an interview with the Danbury News-Times.
But her proximity to death inspires her to live life fully and with great passion. Which is why Emiry Roy is on a mission to live her bucket list now, and not wait until life’s expiration date comes into view.
“I don’t want to be 60 years old and dying and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights,” she says—a trip which, by the way, she has scheduled for later in 2018.
Her day-to-day work with hospice patients is what inspired her to start focusing on her bucket list. “You can’t help but form a bond with patients and their families,” she says. One young hospice client in his 20s wanted to go skydiving before he died—a wish the Center helped come true, along with those wishes of many other hospice patients.
But Emiry Roy was also inspired to live life fully by a formative experience when she was a teenager, when her friend, Lesley, was diagnosed with leukemia, and died 8 months later. The two young women spent as much time together as possible, talking about death and what would come after, and promising to keep watch over each other. “She is always with me,” writes Emiry Roy in a blog post. “Today I reflect on what our dying patients need and want, always thinking of Lesley and the gift she gave me.”
In the New-Times interview—which can be read in its entirety here—she says, “Patients constantly tell me: ‘I wish I worked less or traveled more. Or I wish I had done more of the things I love to do. They put it off and put it off and then got terminally ill.
“That’s why my bucket list is so important to me.”