Last week I wrote about how to make and revise your death care plan. I know that this kind of document might be difficult for many of us to make. Many of us would rather pretend that life goes on and somehow we can beat the odds. We might be convinced to make some kind of plan for after our death. Maybe we can make a plan of what to do with our bodies and maybe what kind of memorial we want. Can we really plan for the kind of death we want? Sure, one never knows when death will come and that is what makes planning so difficult. What I mean is that we might take the time and think about what kind of care we wish to receive if we face a long term illness where death appears to be most likely. Sure, we need to be aware of the medical options we face, but that is different. This process is more about the way you want to approach death. This is about a different kind of care planning. This care planning focuses on what feeds the soul and brings us joy.
Questions We Might Ask:
- What brings me joy?
- What connects me with those I love?
- What satisfies my heart?
- Who might I need to have an uncomfortable conversation with to clear the air?
- What are my wildest goals or daydreams?
- Who do I need to forgive? Am I on that list?
- Who do I want to spend time with? Why?
- What I might regret not doing?
- Who do I want to hold my hand?
- What kind of death do I want? Do I want to die at home, hospital, hospice?
This planning gets overlooked so often. We go along living our lives, hoping that we have time. What we miss is that when we think about what we want to surround ourselves before death, and the kinds of things we might need to take care of, we notice that this list is more about living than death. Why then do we not live life according to what brings us joy? That is the question of the ages. I do not know the answer. When it comes down to the brass tacks, this kind of planning says more about what kind of life we want. Perhaps this process might focus you into living a different kind of life. Perhaps it will just intrigue you. I do hope you find value in this process.
Even if we cannot manage to live life the way we wish, we need to allow ourselves permission to think about the kind of death we would want should we have the chance to plan such a thing. No one of us knows when the end will come. We do not know the circumstances of our death, but we can take time to think about the kind of care we would like to receive from those who love us best. Our ideas might just give them a chance to focus on the joyful times and maybe give them a direction to help them deal with the prospect of our death. Leaving a caring word might help them more than us. All death care planning is for those who will have to do the work, more than it is for us anyway. I wrote a letter to my family. I do not pretend to know the best or the only way to convey your thoughts and hopes, but I trust that we each have a good and creative way to get the job done. Take heart. The process of making a death care plan might just free you from some of the fear and anxiety you have in facing death.