This series is about living more simply. But how can we make it easier for our loved ones when our days are numbered?
How can we die more simply?
It is not something we want to talk about with our children. It is not something we want to hear from our father or mother, spouse or partner.
“Now, now, now,” we say in a dismissive way. “We’re not going to talk about that, you are not going to die anytime soon.” We are afraid if we talk about it, somehow it will happen sooner rather than later.
But if you had witnessed what I did recently, all of us would talk and listen more.
I was inspired, amazed, and graced to witness such a conversation.
A daughter listened intently to the physician’s words that her mother would die soon because she could no longer breathe on her own without a respirator. It was a difficult and hard time.
The adult daughter sat up straight in her chair, leaned forward and gazed into the moist eyes of the female physician who had delivered the news, and then said with a clear voice, “My mother and I have talked about this day several times over the last few years. If you are telling me that my mother cannot get better because of her disease and medical condition, I am here to say that she does not want to live an extended amount of time on a respirator. She is at peace. She has said that she is tired, and that she is ready to go and be with God. I want to honor her wishes.”
This daughter had been granted “power of attorney” by her mother before they got to this point. The mother had a living will that stated her wishes in writing. And the daughter’s sisters were all in the room and nodded affirmatively for they knew the truth.
Because a mother talked to the family she loved ahead of time, it was was a sacred time.
Because a daughter listened, her mother’s life would end with dignity. Her mother would have the kind of care that would not allow her to be in pain or discomfort, and she would be surrounded by those she loved at her bedside. It would be a “good death.”
I invite you to talk with those you love about your wishes, now and often. Especially when you are well and healthy. Share your wishes with all the members of your family, and put it in writing.
I encourage you to talk. I encourage you to listen.
So that we can live, and die, more simply.