Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
–William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)
Visiting with a neighbor yesterday she remarked she had a “third cousin” working on a project for her and as we walked away the question arose among us, ‘what is this third cousin’ business?
Many other languages have ways to distinguish father’s brother, mother’s brother, and more complete ways to sort these family tree branches. Here’s a great illustration that shows the story we were trying to comprehend on the walk home:
If you are reading this you no longer look like the baby in this picture, life passes quickly, and we are all rushing about putting off health care papers that may be vitally important for our closest friends and family.
April 16th has been set aside as National Health Care Decisions Day.
We are all going to die and in our death denying culture in the US it can be hard to muster up the energy to face getting your affairs in order.
Only a small percentage of Americans have take time out to write up a will or update a will made years ago, maybe when you married or had your first offspring. Many who have gotten a will together have one that hasn’t been updated or may not include your wishes about medical intervention. You hear tales of court cases where a divorced mate never bothered to update their will or insurance when they remarried leaving their wealth to the ex.
Compassion and Choices of Washington has put together some marvelous free tools to help you and your family and friends to detail your values and even provides a little quiz to make sure that when the conversation has been properly understood for those involved.
Just a click away is their Values Worksheet to help you rate your most important wished 1-5. This is a great way to begin a conversation with your family and friends and make clear what is most important to you and what is not. No matter what your feelings about end of life choice this is a useful straight forward tool.
After filling out the Values Worksheet and taking time to discuss the finer points you should have your mate or health care agent fill out the Health Care Decisions IQ Test
If you each fill it out you will be certain that you are totally understanding the others wishes or know that the conversation isn’t concluded.
If you find these resources helpful slip a check in the mail for them to continue offering these services for free to all, they rely on donations to keep their agency going.
Watching the documentary Consider the Conversation will also spark an open discussion and make you aware that it is important no matter what your age, religion, gender or race. Buy a copy to support the filmmakers and show it at your next family gathering, or community club it is important we not keep out heads in the sand around issues of choice.
Journalist Ellen Goodman has put together this site that may be of interest, The Conversation Project.
We might all hope that we just die in our sleep but that chance is not likely and your family will be so much more at ease to know they have done just what you wanted as detailed by your own writing.
Just do it!