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I was recently out to dinner with a friend of mine.  He was talking about his child having a major cancer event twenty years earlier when she was very young.

Recently she told him that if another cancer event came up in her life, she would likely let it take its toll.  She had no interest in going through the same treatment regime again.  It was just too painful.

His comment to her was, “over my dead body will I let you ignore this if it happens again.”  And, that’s the problem.

At some point it’s your child’s life.

We want to protect our children.  We want them to not make mistakes that can harm them.  If we get a chance we’re going to protect our children.

I get all of this and I’m sure that’s what my friend was saying.  At the same time we have to let our children and our parents for that matter make their own decisions.  Having faced a terminal disease I can say that life isn’t always the best answer, at least for me.

If you disagree learn to ask good questions.

One thing I know is true is that telling never works with children.  If you ask good questions and are patient enough to drill down on the questions you ask, you’re likely to get a better result.

If my friend asked and kept asking his daughter might discover that life is probably better, even with lots of pain.  At the same time she might have discovered that her original feeling is right for her.  It’s being right for yourself that counts.  No matter how much it hurts, that’s the right choice.

Sometimes the pain is too much.

Until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes you really don’t know what they’re going through.  Living with chronic pain is no fun.  I know, I do it every day.

At some point I could imagine chronic pain being so much that quality of life goes away.  Technology has allowed us to live longer.  In many cases it’s also allowed a better life…..but not always.

Life might not always be the best choice.

This is a really tough one.  I think about it a lot.  If my cancer were to come back would treatment at any cost be right?

I don’t think I can really answer that right now.  I’m hoping I never have to answer it.  If a loved one of yours has to, help them understand why their answer is the right one.  Remember it’s not your answer, it’s theirs.

This is a private choice.

After all the conversations, questions and cajoling it’s a private choice.  The choice might be painful for those around the person.  It might even be one that shouldn’t be made quickly…..in fact, it should never be made quickly.  Thoughtful with lots of discussion, respect and love is the way to go…at least in my opinion.

If you have a loved one who is going through a situation like this I recommend you read and give them the what if workbook.  We use this for people going through life changes that need to examine their options.  It might be the right thing to use in this situation.

What if workbook

Topics: wealth management, decision making, op ed

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