by Liz David
Here I go again, bringing up stuff that makes us uncomfortable. Let’s face it. We may not be thinking about “end of life” issues, consciously, all the time. But don’t tell me the topic is not just below the surface, nagging at us when we least expect it. Believe me, I don’t think about these issues all the time even though, over many years, I’ve taught courses on “aging with meaning.”
They say we teach what we need to learn. And I’m still learning! Is it possible to get dying right? What is right anyway? How will we know when the time comes?
Like the Boy Scouts motto “Be Prepared,” I offer a checklist that’s meant to, at least, possibly, maybe, give us some peace of mind regarding ways we can be prepared, knowing full well that it’s impossible to be fully prepared in the moment.
CHECKLIST FOR CREATING PEACE OF MIND FOR HEALTH, LEGAL DIRECTIVES, AND END OF LIFE ISSUES IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
Personal Preferences: Where would you like to be during your last moments, days, or months? Whom would you like to be present? A comforting presence. Whom would you like to care for you? What would you like your surroundings to look like?
What music would you like played as you are dying? What poems, prayers, writings or texts would you like recited? What food can you imagine eating? Your favorite? What scents would you like to smell? What objects would you like to have nearby to touch? What would you like your last moments to be like?
Practical Tasks: Do you have a living will, health care proxy? Do you have a will for possessions, investments, income? Where is your will located? Who has copies? My insurance policies are located? If you have a safe deposit box, where is it? where are the keys? Who is authorized to access it? Have you discussed funeral arrangements? And if so, with whom? Do you wish to be buried or cremated? Any particular funeral parlor? Clergy? Who will make arrangements, and have they agreed? Who will arrange Kaddish/Mass or other prayer service? Who will take care of my unfinished business whether legal or otherwise?
Anything else? Brainstorm your own questions about your individual preferences…
So there you have it! If you haven’t already, create your own personal checklist. What are you waiting for?
One thing is for sure–we don’t get out of this life alive!
Offered with love,
Years ago, when we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.” I’m not sure whether or not I believed it then, and I’m wondering whether I believe it now. Stay tuned!