Being Prepared When The End Is Near

No one likes to talk about the end of life and death. It is scary, confusing and emotionally tough. I have blogged before about the conversations I have had with my mom about her wishes for the end of her life. She has been very clear about her hopes and what she would like me to do to carry them out. It is surreal to think that we have had these intensely pragmatic conversations, anticipating the end at some point, never knowing when it will occur.

It wasn’t what she had hoped for or wished for, but as she says, “It is what it is.” And so we are muddling through.

Like many elderly people, at 85 she fell and broke a bone. She went from being a relatively active woman, who three short months ago was living on her own, doing her own housekeeping chores and shopping for herself, to a woman who is unable to sit up, let alone stand. She has lost about everything but her sense of humor.

Our conversations in the past have made this transition so much less painful, chaotic and confusing. She has a living will, an advanced directive and clear instructions for me. We’ve already had the tough conversations. This has made the time we have together more precious and more meaningful, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I have left no stone unturned in all the things I wanted my mom to know before she passes. Not one.

What a gift she has given me and our family by having the courage to plan ahead for this time. While those conversations were not easy then, they have saved us the chaos of having them now when it’s so emotional.

I’ve received the doctor’s call saying it was time for mom to consider hospice. It is quite therapeutic that I am jotting this down now, but it is also equally important to me to share with others what a gift her courage and planning has been.

So have the tough talks, plan accordingly and give your loved ones the gift of more beautiful conversations near the end.

By Dr. Joann Schaefer, BCBSNE executive vice president



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