This is a question that we all need to ask ourselves? It’s also a topic that none of us want to think about or, take any actions about.
I’ve probably had the fortune or some might say mis-fortune of thinking about my mortality a lot. You see, ten years ago I was diagnosed with a very nasty and virulent form of cancer. On top of getting a nasty strain running through my body the cancer wasn’t found until it was a Stage Four event.
If you know anything about cancer, Stage Four is the one you don’t want. It’s where cancer has spread throughout your body. It’s where cancer is difficult to treat.
Getting back to the question I’m posing…I had lots of time to think about it and I’m still not sure I’ve come up with a good definition of what dying well really means. But, let’s take a crack and it and see what we come up with.
First, have you had a conversation about dying with a trusted friend?
This is where I would start. I will bet that you’ve never really had an in-depth conversation with anyone about how you want your life to end. Now, having that conversation doesn’t mean that what you want will happen, but it starts the conversation.
one of the few things I’m sure of in life is that we’re all going to die someday. I’m hoping that for you that someday is a long way off.
Since dying will happen, doesn’t it make sense for you to talk about what that means for you with those you love? I hope you decide the answer to that question is yes and you have that conversation. It’s where you should start.
What happens if you don’t have a choice?
In the best circumstance you will have some choices about how you die. In the worst, you’re not.
This means that you need to think about what sort of care you want before the time comes for you to leave planet Earth. You do this with a health care proxy and powers of attorney. You need to think about this and have your plans documented and on file at all the health care facilities you use.
Do this now, if you don’t have a health care directive, visit an attorney and get one drawn up this week. It’s that important.
Have you documented what your loved one's need to know?
We all have passwords, bank accounts, investment accounts and various other pieces of information floating around that our loved ones will need right after you die. You are making life more difficult for them when you don’t have a will, trusts and powers of attorney drawn up. In addition, you need to document where all the “stuff” is that they’ll need after you’re gone.
A program I like is Everplan. This is a comprehensive program that will take you through all the stuff that you have and then leave breadcrumbs, well more than that for your loved ones to navigate your life after you’re gone.
Part of dying well is knowing that your loved one's have the information they need after you’re gone. If you do this, you know that however you end up dying it does not leave your loved ones in the dark about your physical possessions.
Where are you with pain and extreme measures to stay alive?
This is a question that will be answered for you if you don’t take action. Understand the design of the health care system to keep you alive, no matter what. If you want extraordinary measures to keep you alive, then there isn’t much you need to do.
Most of the people I speak with don’t want that option. They would rather not have extraordinary measures. Especially after a health care professional explains what this means.
I want you to have a conversation with your doctor so you know what’s right for you and then document it so they will honor your wishes.
For me, we all have a shelf life, what about you?
For me quality of life is what it’s all about. If I don’t have a good quality of life, then I’m pretty sure it’ll be time for me to move on.
I have no idea what’s right for you. This is a personal decision, and it’s where talking about this with someone will help you figure out what you want to do.
You might even decide this conversation would be best with a professional advisor of some sort. In my mind, it doesn’t really matter who you have this conversation with as long as you have it.
So, what do you think about dying well? Why don’t you scroll down and leave a comment below?