Author: Eric Malmborg
The new year is a time to create resolutions or goals to focus on. It is a time to make sure we’re doing all we can to improve our physical or financial health.
As a member of the committee on the Ministry of Last Things, I’d like to suggest that we consider spending time thinking about our life goals, or end-of-life goals. Even if we feel like we’re not ready to create an advance directive, designate a proxy, or complete other end-of-life planning documents, we can begin thinking about what’s important to us and what we might want to share with loved ones while we’re still healthy and vital.
I know from personal experience about the value of having these conversations because I was never able to have one with my aunt before I agreed to be the executor of her estate, and she then passed away. Even an hour with her to go over some basic information would have shortened what became a half-time job for almost a year and a half.
The following are a few excerpts from a document that you can find on the Ministry of Last Things web page called, The Conversation Project: What Matters to Me? I think you’ll find that these questions can lead to meaningful conversations with loved ones of any age, especially those to whom decisions and responsibilities will fall.
To begin, think about what is most important to you – what “matters” to you in your life. Put it in writing, share it with those who love you, even knowing that what is important to you may change over time!
More specifically, consider the following:
· What are your most important goals if your health situation worsens?
· How much medical treatment are you willing to go through should you have an accident or your health should begin to fail?
· What are your biggest fears and worries about the future with your health?
· As you think about the future with your illness, what gives you strength? What are your sources of strength in difficult times?
At some point, it will be very helpful to take the time to be as specific as possible with those who will be responsible for your care regarding your wishes at the end of life. The various planning documents contained on the Ministry of Last Things web page provide an excellent format for recording your wishes.
In the meantime, even if you don’t feel like you’re ready to spell it all out in writing, please consider just taking time to reflect on the questions above and enter into conversation with loved ones. You might find they help build connections, provide valuable insight into those present, and lessen the fear of talking about death.
May you be blessed with health, happiness, and peace in the coming year!
“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” – Richard Cushing