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This maybe the most important decision of our life.

Updated on August 31, 2016
MGWriter profile image

Working closely with assisted livings and adult family homes as well as individuals solving the more difficult problems of caregiving.

Looking for the answers who, what and where

How are we to know, when, the final moments will come? Who do we ask? And especially to what end?

These three questions come to mind when facing a loved one's death almost invariably. These questions are not easy to face nor are they easily verbalized. The first question: How are we to know, when, the final moments will come? And for many the ability to plan for this time is essential. So where do we begin to look for the answers? Certainly many will look toward their relationship with a higher being for answers not to be found in our earthly residence.

Some will turn to the physicians providing care for our loved one. As a matter of fact, the following question is one of the first asked by family and friends. How long and will there be pain? First, we must remember that physicians are human just like each of us and, as so make mistakes. Even when there an order to bring Hospice into the care plan, personnel will tell the person that although the Hospice Contract is only for six months. The time limit by Hospice is not a final answer and the person can live longer or shorter as the person progress in the disease process. Many families will still want more answers. So where are we to go?

Although not infallible our best scientific answers seem to come from physicians. And using this thought process, many believe the best answer is given when a physician is ask, ‘If this is your (father, mother, sister, brother and so forth) what time limit and care plan would you answer will you tell us? We have been taught for many years to trust the physician as a person to look up to and revered.

This is a decision which is very difficult to talk about

Science and research have moved so fast due to our interest and pursuit of knowledge regarding our final chapter ‘death and dying’. Certainly, this is difficult to answer the questions. And now to expect one physician to have the answer is almost impossible. This brings to who do doctors go to asking this question? With all the specialists in our medical field, there are most certainly many physicians who will need to ask another physician. Where do physicians go for the answers?

Recently an article was published in Trumpet Magazine Sept 2016. It is online if you are interested in the exact wording. The findings ascribed to in the article were ones many of us have heard before. Somehow it does not seem that many physicians are interested in life-saving treatment. And it would appear from this article they are even less interested in heroic efforts. It would seem they have seen and researched the afterward situation when these types of treatments are used.

This article is not written to either present one treatment over another or to suggest what is the best end of life care for you. This article is written to hopefully kick start conversations within our individual groups of family or friends regarding what each of us would want should we not be able to advocate for ourselves when the time comes. This article is sat forward to help children having to make decisions for Mom and Dad that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Now is the time to have a conversation regarding each of our wishes, this conversation will help our loved ones make the decisions when the time is here. Yes please talk to all the players and make sure no one will make this decision for you without all the facts. It is so easy to be caught unaware and overwhelmed when a crisis is eminent. No doctor is going to take the time to read a living will in a situation where an immediate action is necessary. However, they will take the time to hear a family member or friend.

Where to look for answers
Where to look for answers | Source

Where and when to have this conversation?

We are coming into the time that families make decisions for the holidays. This year why not take a few a couple of hours and discuss the options of this subject and listen with your whole being. Then commit this assessment to written words for future use if ever necessary. Everyone in the group must take this discussion seriously. It cannot be a discussion while all involved are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is most important this be approached with clear heads.

This may be the most important decision of our life.


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    • MGWriter profile image

      Marsha Caldwell 17 months ago from Western Washington State

      You are so right. This discussion is a very hard one to have. So many times people see their own mortality The unfortunate part of this discussion is that so much can be lost or create walls between family members when this discussion is accomplished. Thank you for reading this article and your comments.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 17 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      End of life issues are one of the most important decisions we will ever make. It is hard to have these conversations unless we take advantage of opportunities that arise either because of deaths we hear about in the media, or the deaths of other family members. That is what precipitated our discussions. My husband's father didn't want to talk about it until one of his brothers passed away. When the family was gathered at his home following the funeral, the conversation naturally turned to what he wanted for his own final wishes.