One of the greatest gifts my mom gave me in this lifetime was having her advance directives in order long before Alzheimer’s was so much as a blip on our radar. I remember when she had them done. At that point, I thought, “Okay, that’s done, but I really don’t want to think about. Furthermore, it’ll be forever until I HAVE to think about it.”
And life goes on….
Then one day, in a complete twist of what you believed to be fate, life changes drastically and forever.
Even with the documents in place and my mom’s wishes crystal clear, the end was agonizing. No one can prepare you for those final days and the sense of helplessness you’ll feel. However, I can’t begin to imagine how exponentially more difficult it would have been if the medical team had been looking to me to make those decisions no one ever wants to be faced with.
Please take a few moments to read this important, thought-provoking piece by my friend, author Elaine Mansfield.
Elaine’s article has me rethinking my own Living Will and considering adding more detail as she and her husband, Vic, did. This specificity leaves no room for interpretation, and the fact that it’s handwritten also adds a certain level of comfort. It’s one thing to see a typewritten document initialed and signed by your loved one, but seeing these details written in their own hand – I think it might help the mind and heart to reconcile, finding a place of certainty and peace.
If nothing else, I hope this article will encourage you to give some thought to advance directives – particularly if you don’t have anything in place. Don’t leave these decisions to your loved ones; when the time comes, they will be struggling enough without having this additional weight on their shoulders.
Elaine Mansfield’s book, Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief will be on shelves in October. It’s one you’ll definitely want to add to your reading list. You can find Elaine on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, you can visit her blog to experience more of her beautiful writing.