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Don’t Put Off Making the Hard Choices

By Sherry Bronson April 08, 2024 Mindset

We make choices. Thousands of them. Every day. Some are automatic. Others, we ponder. And a few, the hard choices, stop us in our tracks.

I’m Immortal, Okay? But…

This week I was faced with the task of filling out an Advanced Directive document. It’s the paperwork that lets others know how I want to die. Do I want to be resuscitated? Well… that depends… However, the questions do not include case scenarios. It’s just, do you want CPR? A feeding tube? Blood transfusions… yes, or no?

I’m an advocate of living life to the fullest and I have to admit, I did an initial read-through and was overwhelmed with a sense of dread. I don’t think about endings; I prefer the present. I stuck the offensive thing in a drawer. It was too depressing, too much to process. The next day, determined to get it over with, I tried again.

There Were So Many Decisions to Make

First, I could name one or two people who would make those end-of-life choices for me. Choose those people and, poof! Done. I’d never have to deal with it.

Or, option number two: fill out the answers to all those tough questions and be my own decision-maker.

Since there is no one in my life that I want to stick with the unsavory task of determining how I die, I remained true to my do-it-yourself nature and started imagining worst-case scenarios and how I’d like them handled.

It baffles me that in a reality where there are so many unknowns but death is a given, why we don’t pay more attention to it earlier on? It seems we just run ourselves right up to the finish line and, “Oh! Hello Death. Fancy meeting you here!” as though we’re surprised that at 95 years old, or 102, we might be nearing the end.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Forgive me. I’m 74 and I am just beginning to give bandwidth to the idea that I should do a bit of advanced planning, that perhaps my immortality has an expiration date.

It’s Interesting to Me How Differently We Approach These Final Decisions

Some care deeply about prolonging life in all possible ways and are particular about how their remains are handled post-mortem.

On the other hand, I continue to do what I want whether my aging body likes it or not. I do not want my life to continue if doing so would mean disabilities of any kind. If I cannot live with a fair amount of independence, I don’t want to live. Therefore, my answers landed in the do not resuscitate column. And once my life force has departed, science can do whatever it wants with my body. It’s no longer of use to me.

I Finished, Signed Off, and Breathed a Sigh of Relief

But the finality of death now haunts me, and I can’t help thinking about other choices I could be making. A Will might be a good idea, or a letter to my daughters outlining my wishes for the tangible goods I leave behind.

Gloomier possibilities exist. What do I want in the event of memory loss? What if I am not terminally ill, but have deteriorating abilities and need help? The what-ifs exist all through our lives. That’s what I mean about starting sooner to think things through and make decisions rather than leaving it all to the final chapter.

We don’t do that because youth is oblivious, and, like me, immortal. I’ve always chosen to gamble on good fortune, a somewhat risky mixture of optimism and denial. But a serious look at what might be ahead is overdue. It’s no longer a gamble, but a given: death is in the cards and I want to be prepared.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you prepared for things that are inevitable – such as death? How did you prepare? What decisions are the most difficult for you in the end-of-life planning? Do you prefer to leave your last hours/months/years up to someone else to decide?

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I would humbly suggest putting in place a Revocable (editable) Living Trust over a ‘will’. This will circumvent the whole mess of ‘probate’. My mother was astute enough to have a Revocable Living Trust which protected her assets for my siblings and I as beneficiaries.

Sherry Bronson

Thank you for your helpful suggestion. I so appreciate your willingness to comment.


Dad did a trust. Also paperwork making me medical POA. Which was useful as his dementia progressed , with no logic, didn’t want to make decisions, couldn’t understand things. Also do not resuscitate. So I didn’t have that decision if it came through it. He died. Trust kept it out of court. My sister has to sign everything too. She won’t take time off work and is socially active.. she has time to go to Hawaii and lunch with friends, but now time to help. Or sign things, ethic prolongs everything.
.She lives over an hour away. Wants me to do everything without help… Meanwhile I get to sort through all his stuff ( I had moved him into my home to care for him as he couldn’t continue to live alone and I felt a care facility would further confuse him. He was scared alot, worried, and I was available to reassure and answer questions. Almost begged her to help on days off. She’d come about once a month for a couple’s hours, and I soon found out she expected to be treated like company, waited on, and didn’t even want to watch Dad so I could do errands without him.) I’m glad I got to spend all the time with Dad but it was challenging. He didn’t want me to leave his sight, so getting things done? Just ended up putting alot on hold.
The only legal thing with a trust is it might be better to word it and/or if more than one child regarding signing things. And need a CPA (expensive) to do tax paperwork. I’m hoping to get estate closed this year. I’m continuing to sort through dad’s stuff, tossing, donating, and pulling boxes of stuff to see if she wants..
When she has time🙄. Wanted her help going through about 50 family photo albums. She helped about one hour and had to go home to go out to eat with her husband. She’s in no hurry to come sort more. My house feels like a storage unit. So I decided to go through them and when they came for Easter dinner, I gave her a bunch to take home that I’d gone through…still have more to do. It was important to dad we get along, but I find myself not liking her. Because I’m trying to be fair and spending alot of time doing it and she says thank you.

Sherry Bronson

Your dad was lucky to have you as a devoted caregiver for his last chapter.


Timely and my attitude is the same as the writers. I’ve been putting it all off even though I’ve been thinking about it since 50, I’m now a young 68 in total denial. With only one son in his mid 20s it’s time to get cracking on this lest the burdens all fall on his shoulders.
Thanks for lighting the fire here- it is now on my Saturday list

Sherry Bronson

You’re ONLY 68! Here I am at 74 JUST beginning to think about it! Here’s to your ‘Saturday list’!!!


I can relate! I’m 69 and my 67 year old sister just had quadruple bypass surgery. Definitely time for me to make some arrangements.

In the past two weeks I have purchased a plot (green burial meadow), selected a casket, made funeral home arrangements, and have had a lawyer draft a trust. Fun? No. Expensive? Very.

I have no children and have selected my nephew to do the work. We are not close. For me, the difficult part was\ is finding someone to be my POA and Executor. I may have to hire someone to be my ” second. Realizing I have few people in my life to participate in my “end of life” choices was the hard part for me.

On the plus side, I feel very prepared and very relieved!

Sherry Bronson

Relieved, yes. There is definitely an element of peace when we make those final decisions.


I understand. My sister and mother may precede me in death and I’ve no children, nieces or nephews. I don’t want to burden my friends. So…it’s all on me.


I do not want to burden my friends, either. My lawyer wants me to find a “second” person for POA and Executor, just in case. I may hire someone to be my professional decision maker. According to my lawyer, there are a few in my area. St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t have a lot of money, but I may do this just to save a friend’s burden. There are a lot of us “singles” out there who need this kind of service and support. Best of luck to you and I wish you a long and healthy life!


My great aunt had a bank be in charge of her trust..
Years ago… don’t know if that’s an option.
Guess all you can do is complete do not rescusitate paperwork. Ask your expensive attorney.


This is so important to do! It is a gift to those you leave behind.

Sherry Bronson

Anyone who has lost parents knows the truth of your statement. Thank you.


Thanks for this thoughtful article on such an important albeit unpleasant topic. I easily made these decisions and filled out a living will when I was only 50, possibly because so many family members had died young that I was not able to escape thinking about death. One troubling aspect is Alzheimer’s. I don’t know if there’s a document you can sign that would relieve your suffering if your brain was no longer functioning – you would not be deemed legally competent to make decisions.. I urge people to support with donations organizations like Final Exit and Compassion and Choices, they are fighting the legal battles to provide rights in this area. The US lags behind Europe and Canada

Sherry Bronson

I believe the state of Oregon has some provisions for end of life decisions that include euthanasia. I agree wholeheartedly that more needs to be done about this. Thank you for your response.

The Author

Sherry Bronson is a writer and traveler. After downsizing, she spent ten thrilling years in Bali, then a year exploring Mexico. Now, she's in northern Minnesota rehabbing a derelict hunting cabin on the family farm. On her blog, Sherry encourages readers to fearlessly and fully live their own authentic lives.

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