Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The winter solstice is over, the darkest day of the year has passed, but for many of us, all these winter days are dark. Did you ever notice that all winter holidays revolve around light--the star in the East, the eight-day miracle of light, the yule log. Since the dawn of time, human beings have craved the light.
This week's review, however, is about darkness--the final darkness. If you've lost a loved one, you've experienced that, but how much thought have you given to your own final moments and how you want to face your own end? As we end this year and begin thinking of New Year's resolutions, you might want to visit www.engagewithgrace.org. I happened upon it recently and learned that their goal, or mission, is to have everyone consider the following five questions:
1. How much/little medical intervention do you want if you have a terminal condition?
2. Where do you want to die? At home or in the hospital?
3. Do you have someone you trust to communicate your preferences to medical personnel? Could this person describe how you wish to be treated?
4. Have you appointed someone to advocate on your behalf?
5. Have you completed a medical power of attorney, living will, or advanced directive?
I've read the questions and pondered them. I realize I need to talk more to my children about my wishes for treatment at the end of life. I know from the story about how this site began, that the organizers believe that dying at home is the best option, but I don't want that for myself. I think the burden on my family would be too great to cope with, and I think I'd prefer to be somewhere where medical personnel were available, like in a hospice. I'd really like to hear opinions on that. Ultimately, everyone's wishes are right for them.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older (I once read a book called Coming into the End Zone--that's where I am in life. Well, I hope not yet, but I'm trying to be realistic) here. Anyway, no matter what your age, these are things to consider, especially now that we're on our own.
On a brighter note, have a good and peaceful weekend, and in spite of the dark, may you find some light in these winter days.
With love, TZ