A Hospice Story

The Gift of Preparedness

Submitted by: Denise Torgerson - June 19, 2017

Are you ready?

Have you had the conversation yet?

Does your family know your end of life wishes?

Have you dotted your I's and crossed your T's?

For some reason we avoid thinking about or talking about our own death. Perhaps we think that even thinking about it will bring it closer. We like to pretend that it is not going to happen, that we have lots of time, and that we somehow have control over when our time will come.

I am sorry to sound harsh, but death is inevitable and unfortunately, we cannot control when it will come.

I will admit that starting a conversation around dying with your family will feel uncomfortable. However, the benefits of the conversation can be profound.

Families I meet who have had the conversations are more able to navigate the dying journey with their loved one. The family is not in conflict because they know they are following the dying person's wishes. There is no room for disagreement.

Because everyone is clear that they are honouring their dying person, there is more time for loving conversations and reminiscing. The family is together, supporting each other, each person taking on the role given.

As I enter these rooms at Hospice, I see there is no hurry. There is no fear about what has to be "done". There is no anxiety about wanting to do the right thing, and not knowing what the right thing is. They are enjoying the moments. They are loving one another. They are present to what is going on around them.

This morning I woke up and my first thought (no really) my first thought was, I'd better write down my computer passwords for my daughter in case I die soon.

Of course, it will involve a conversation with her. She might not want to talk about it, but I know that when the time comes, she will be grateful. She already knows my wishes. We talk about death often in our house. This morning though, was just one more piece of being ready. One more dotted I.

I rest easier knowing that it will be easier for her.