Plan a Peaceful exit
Preparing for Death Can Lead to Making The Most Out of Life
We all die, whether expectedly or not. But accepting the inevitability of death can help teach us to live more fully in the here and now. It enables up to cherish every moment of the life we have. We may ask ourselves searching questions, such as what impact do we want to make on the world? What do we want our legacy to be? We all want a good life, but a good death is just as important. What does a good death mean to you? Perhaps it’s taking the time to consider what would be the best possible death experience for you. Consider and make a plan about the people, place, sounds and smells involved in your final moments here on earth.
In addition to the personal growth that can come from planning your own peaceful exit, having a proper plan in place can relieve the decision-making burden on those you love. It can create the opportunity for a peace-filled end of life.
Here is a checklist of some things to think about. Contact us for help in making it less overwhelming and far more creative.
My Required End-of-Life Paperwork (Medical and/or Legal)
- Do I have an advanced directive(s) included in my living will? Is it legal for my state? (Include a PSAS to help your healthcare provider and proxy/family to know at what stage of illness you choose to forgo certain medical interventions.)
- Have I selected a Health Care Proxy and executed a Health Care Power of Attorney? Please specify 1 or 2 alternative proxies as well. (Health Care Proxy is a legal term for surrogate medical decision-maker, the person who will make medical decisions for you should you become unable to make them for yourself).
- Have I set up a POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment), if the POLST program is legal in my state? Or, if the POLST is unavailable, have I asked my physician to sign a state-approved Do Not Resuscitate/Allow Natural Death order, if desired?
- Have I executed a legal DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order? The DNR is a medical order signed by a physician instructing health care workers not to perform CPR on you, but instead to allow you to die naturally and in comfort.
Personal Communications with Your Family and Friends
- Have I discussed my condition with my family/friends in complete honesty?
- Have I told my loved ones EXACTLY what medical interventions that I want and do not want? Do they know at what stage of illness I would choose to forgo certain therapies or artificial life support ? Share your PSAS and/or POLST, DNR papers with them.
- My family needs to know who I have put in charge of my medical decisions when I can no longer make them. My health care proxy or surrogate medical decision maker needs to understand and agree to carry out my wishes and desires regarding my end-of-life care.
- Do I need a private discussion with anyone, if it would help them to accept my decision? (If I’m OK to Die, are they?)
Am I OK to Die?
- Say the “6 Things” you need to say to your loved ones, friends and enemies. It is never too early to say these things: “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” “Thank you.” “I love you.” “It’s OK to die.” “Goodbye.”
- What are my beliefs about death? Do I need to make peace with myself or a Higher Power?
- Do I need psychological, emotional, spiritual care, counseling or support?
- Have I left a legacy? Identify life lessons, advice, hopes and dreams that you would like to pass on to family and friends. Write or record these. Identify a person who can pass these along to the people to those whom you wish to receive your legacy.
- Have I written my personal history? You can write it down, or record on audio or video tape, etc. Who is to get my personal history?
- Do I have anything amiss with my family/friends to fix? Can I fix them now?
- Do I have letters to write? Calls to make? Make a list of all old grudges, enemies, etc., and attempt to settle those affairs. You may use the “6 things” as a guide.
- Have I created my “bucket list”? What am I able to accomplish with the time I have left?
Funeral Planning and Logistics
- Where do I want my body to be taken? Which funeral home/mortuary?
- Do I want to be embalmed? Buried? Cremated?
- What are my Burial/Casket preferences?
- Who do I want notified of my death?
- Do I want to write my own obituary?
- Do I have burial plot? If cremated, where should my ashes be scattered or interned?
- Do I want/need a headstone/grave marker? Have I written out what I want inscribed on it? Design?
- Do I want a Funeral service? Program?
- Do I have special needs for my ceremony? Military? Religious?
- Who will deliver the eulogy? Ask him or her in advance.
- Should I pre-pay funeral expenses?
- Do I want to identify a charity “in lieu of flowers”?
- Do I want a wake or memorial party instead of a funeral?
- Who needs to be made aware of my death? Make a contact list for your funeral or memorial notices