When You Need To Get Your End-of-Life Plan Done
I know from my own experience how important this is...
I'm Jane Duncan Rogers, and in 2011 for me and my husband, it was a really horrible year and very difficult to accept he was dying of stomach cancer, and there was nothing we could do to change that. (This pic to the right was taken when he only lived a couple more months). I was so angry, upset, and of course, terribly sad. We both were.
But if you do admit it, as we did, and take care of things, then you are inviting into the last period of time you have to live a quality of life that might be unlike anything you have had before.
We discovered that that's what facing up to death does - it gets you very clear about being alive right now, and being appreciative for what you DO have - even if it isn't the time you always wanted.
Facing up to the end of your own life, or someone else's, means:
- the strain of worrying about how they (or you) are going to cope practically afterwards is taken away (because they've been well-prepared)
- the chance of siblings and other family members arguing disappears
- you'll be satisfied time and money has been saved, thus there will be more inheritance for the family
- you'll be more motivated to get the things done that you know really need to be done
- AND - you may very well find, as we did, that you feel relieved, more energetic and with more of a zest for living, even if the length of that time is compromised.
Getting started was a challenge, no doubt about it
We had a lot of support from some amazing people, but getting introduced to the list of questions I eventually wrote about in Gifted By Grief wasn’t great.
It made it all a bit more real for both of us and, to be honest, we resisted doing it.
Eventually, after a third insistent nudge from a friend I collared Philip one Saturday morning, and we ploughed through the questions together.
But getting going, it actually got easier
Strangely, once we had got started, it got easier. Philip could say what he wanted to happen, and
for the first time in ages he was taking back the control that cancer had taken from him. VERY IMPORTANT.
He could decide what would happen and I would carry it out later. That was the deal. By the time we had finished, 3 hours on, we were feeling so satisfied we had done it - and, an added bonus, we felt incredibly close and connected. Very odd - we’d been talking about Philip’s death and yet
it had brought us together in love even more. Later, we talked about that morning as our last project together.
I know getting started is a challenge; it certainly was for us. But since Philip died I have spoken to hundreds of people about the dying process, and there is general agreement that having a plan for the end supports everyone through the transition of life to death.
What’s more, statistics from Compassion in Dying in the UK says that 53% of people are more likely to receive treatment they DON'T want at the end of their life, if they haven't recorded their wishes in advance. Knowing what these wishes are, AND writing them down is a big part of a good end-of-life plan.
It supported us through the transition that was happening
With a plan in place, you can be secure in the knowledge that your wishes will be followed in the approach to your end-of-life, as well as after you’ve gone.
That means your family will not have to make difficult decisions on your behalf. It'll be bad enough without you around, because grief does strange things to people, but one of the most common things is that decision making can be nigh on impossible.
So they can get on with remembering the best of you, without the administrative stress that can cause so much extra unnecessary pain.
So, I have created a resource that guides you through the process of writing an end of life plan.
A resource to help you
It’s the Before I Go Workbook - this is a fillable PDF (or there is a print version) that you download to your own device.
It has all the original questions I asked Philip, with quite a lot more I have researched since, and space in which you can type your answers.
Answering the questions makes you feel good!
Remember, we kept on putting off answering these questions.
It was only after the 3rd email from the friend who had originally sent them, that I finally took us both in hand, sat us down with the laptop and began.
Slowly, the good feelings crept over us. And now I know that we are not the only ones who felt good doing this kind of ‘work’!
Here’s what some others using the Workbook have said:
We now have the Workbook with all the things I need to share with my wife, and we have been through most of it. That gives me great comfort as it means I am loving her until the last possible moment. Stuart, England
So far the Will is written, diaries prepared for destruction and a list started of who I want to be notified when I go, amongst other things. I am delighted”. Joanna Legard, Scotland
Since I’ve been looking into this, it’s had a knock on effect in other areas of my life – it releases energy. Rose, America
Even though with the Workbook you have everything you need to complete your plan, it may be that you’d like some more support.
Contact me here for a complimentary conversation as to how you could be helped further, whether in a group or 1:1 with me.