Letter to the editor: Advance care planning — ‘conversations that matter’ about the end of-lifeI want to thank Naomi Yaeger for sharing her uncle’s living, and his dying, in the November 17 Duluth Budgeteer.
I want to thank Naomi Yaeger for sharing her uncle’s living, and his dying, in the November 17 Duluth Budgeteer. Her column, “Both a place and a process, hospice strives for comfort at end of life,” was not only well written, but continues to remind me that death is like the elephant on the dining room table: everyone sees it, but no one wants to talk about it.
Believe it or not, we are ALL going to die. Some deaths will be sudden and unexpected. Others will be expected. But we are going to die. Death and quality-of-life issues need to be talked about in families BEFORE crises happen … before there is the knock at the door, or someone we love is diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness.
Working with patients and families I’ve learned each family has its own culture, values, fears, regrets, challenges, successes, and history. I’ve learned “conversations that matter” about end-of-life evolve as we move from our younger years to becoming “more mature.” Are your values regarding quality of life the same today as years ago, or have you redefined what is now really “important”?
With the holidays upon us, this is the ideal time to talk about the elephant in the room. As the quote says, “I don’t regret the things I have done, I just regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.” Use this
holiday season to gift your family by sharing your feelings about end-of-life issues, about your quality-of-life concerns.
St. Mary’s Medical Center, Miller-Dwan, or St. Luke’s Hospital will be glad to share literature, and their expertise. Just call them.
Ben Wolfe is the founder and former 28-year director/grief therapist of Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center’s Grief Support Center, and currently a grief, loss and transition trainer and consultant.