Planning for the end is such a curious concept. So many of us worry about the life we are living and yet neglect to plan for that time when it will become more and more difficult to suck the marrow from our existence. They say it’s not the pace of life that gets you, it’s the sudden stop at the end. That line may be good for a chuckle, but for the majority of us, it’s just not true.
The End of Life
Life does not naturally careen forward only to stop abruptly. The reality is more akin to a car running out of gas. It’s running along just fine, engine purring, and then you begin to notice a few hiccups. The engine is still running, but it’s not doing everything it normally does. Something is missing, the engine struggles, causing the entire frame to jerk violently as it pulls and stops, pulls and stops. Eventually it quits, but even though the driving force propelling the car forward has stopped its thrust, the car hasn’t stopped forward momentum. It’s still moving. Steadily decelerating, yes, but moving until, finally, it coasts to a slow and laborious stop.
For most of us, on the day we die, our bodies will not be functioning as they did in our twenties. They will have broken down, ceased to function properly and yet still be pushing us forward. But that doesn’t mean we are destined to merely endure the end. It is possible to have happy and fulfilling final years; it just takes a little work.
Making a Good End
Judy MacDonald Johnston recently gave a brief talk outlining the basic steps required for ensuring a good end of life. The video is available for you to view below, and I’ve attached a short outline beneath it:
- Make a Plan – You need to realize that your body is going to break down, possibly your mind as well. It is important that you plan for those events to take place so that when they happen your wishes are not only known but possible.
- Advocates – These are people who will ensure your plan happens and be with you every step of the way. These need to be people that have the time to devote to seeing this through. Relying on your children may not work, so don’t just hold onto an expectation without discussing it thoroughly with them.
- Hospital Readiness – You need a brightly colored envelope which holds: a one page summary of your medical history, what meds you are currently on, and your physician’s information. It should contain a copy of your insurance card, power of attorney and do not resuscitate as well as any other pertinent legal documentation. This will expedite your admittance.
- Choose Caregivers - Whether a senior care facility or at-home care, you need to make this decision ahead of time. Do not settle. These are the people that will be caring for you in your final days; make sure they are the right people.
- Last Words – Not what you want to say, but what you want to hear. What reassurances do you need about the people or things you’re leaving behind? If you’ve made a plan, all of those important things should be handled, but you may need or want reassurance when your time nears.
If you are looking for more information on this topic, you can visit Judy MacDonald Johnston’s website Good End Of Life here.
Approaching the end of your life can be a beautiful time. It should provide an opportunity to find even more love and happiness, not be a trial you have to struggle through alone. With a little forethought, at the end of your life you can still have a fulfilling life.