It’s a subject no one wants to talk about. Though death and dying are inevitable, we shy away from discussing them… and all the sadness and pain we fear goes with it. However, developing an end of life plan is a gift you give to yourself and those left behind and the process can be a surprisingly intimate and enriching one.
Margaret Manning recently spoke with Jane Duncan Rogers, whose website is designed to guide you through the process of creating an end of life plan for yourself, or to assist you in helping create one for someone close to you.
She helps you simplify the process, tailor it to your specific wants and needs, and shows you what a meaningful experience it can be.
Jane explains that defining a good death falls into two categories. The first is what it means to the person who is dying, the second is what we want for someone else who is close to us.
Without exception, the answer to both those questions always contains the same word: peaceful. Ideally, we want to pass away in our sleep and free from pain.
The best time to write an end of life plan is now! Although death can happen to any of us at any time, most of us don’t give it serious thought until after a certain age. It’s important to remember that having an end of life plan is not just about you, it’s also for those you leave behind.
Doing things like preparing a will and arranging for power of attorney allows your loved ones to grieve appropriately. Having an end of life plan relieves them of the burdens and often overwhelming anxiety of having to discern how to handle your affairs. It truly is a gift.
Jane speaks from personal experience. Back when her husband was ill and in the last months of his life, she received an email from a friend detailing all the practical things that need doing and questions that need answering before he passes away. In short, writing and executing and end of life plan.
The hardest part for them was thinking about doing it. In actuality, doing it was a warm and loving experience, one that made them feel even more closely connected. It was an unexpectedly rewarding experience, and led her to write her successful and highly regarded book, Gifted by Grief.
Need another reason to write an end of life plan? How about the peace of mind that goes with it? Besides expressing how rewarding the experience can be, Jane’s clients often cite the relief they feel once it’s done.
Knowing you’ve lessened the anxiety and emotional pain that accompanies the death of a loved one becomes part of your legacy. You no longer have to worry about much of the anxiety your passing will leave for others, and you can just go on living!
Let’s face it. Not everyone has someone they feel comfortable writing an end of life plan with. Family and friends often live far away and once-close relationships can fade over the years.
That’s where Sixty and Me comes in! Within this wonderful, supportive community are people ready and willing to help. All you have to do is reach out, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Will you consider writing an end of life plan? What do you think are the components of a “good death?” What constitutes a good death for someone close to you? Let’s have a chat!