Editor’s note: State of Health is participating in the Engage with Grace blogrally. Engage with Grace aims to get people talking about their wishes for end of life and advanced care. The Health Care Blog has put up the HTML code, if you want to host this on your own blog.
By Alexandra Drane
One of our favorite things we ever heard Steve Jobs say is: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” We love it for three reasons: 1) It reminds all of us that living with intention is one of the most important things we can do. 2) It reminds all of us that one day will be our last. 3) It’s a great example of how Steve Jobs just made most things (even things about death – even things he was quoting) sound better.
Most of us do pretty well with the living with intention part – but the dying thing? Not so much. And maybe that doesn’t bother us so much as individuals because heck, we’re not going to die anyway!! That’s one of those things that happens to other people.
Then one day it does happen — to someone else. But it’s someone that we love. And everything about our perspective on end of life changes.
If you haven’t personally had the experience of seeing or helping a loved one navigate the incredible complexities of terminal illness, then just ask someone who has. Chances are nearly three out of four of those stories will be bad ones — involving actions and decisions that were at odds with that person’s values. And the worst part about it? Most of this mess is unintentional — no one is deliberately trying to make anyone else suffer. It’s just that few of us are taking the time to figure out our own preferences for what we’d like when our time is near, making sure those preferences are known, and appointing someone to advocate on our behalf. Continue reading