...You knew when your life was going to end and that the end was imminent?
What difference would it make in what you do today?
This NUGGET is a testimonial to my little sister, Nan Richards. Three years my junior, we had all the stereotypical big brother/little sister exchanges growing up. Our paths diverged in adulthood and we have been on again/off again in close relationship.
About five years ago, Nan was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent multiple surgeries and medical procedures in the ensuing years...everything from chelation therapy to chemotherapy to clinical trials at MD Anderson to acupuncture and perhaps even a rain dance or two.
I'm amazed that she lived this long with the metastatic cancer that invaded so much of her body. She was a big-time fighter and her medical staff was superhuman in their efforts to keep her not only alive, but with quality of life.
Recently all the normal protocols ceased working and her last call was whether to engage another clinical trial or not. She was wise enough to ask three questions before declining. She asked,
Will it make me more comfortable?
Will it extend my life?
Will it give me more quality of life?
When the answers were NO or NOT SURE, she decided that she'd opt for being made as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.
Since the day she was diagnosed with cancer she began organizing her end-of-life issues.
Got her last will and testament updated
Revised her Power of Attorney for medical purposes
Prepared DNR (do not resuscitate) orders for both in hospital and out of hospital
Prepared Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters
Began giving away her "stuff"
Organized a lifetime of pictures and had them reduced to CDs
Wrote stories about her life and birthday cards to her granddaughter until she turns 18 (she is only 4).
April 24, 2017 she decided it was time to go on Hospice care.
Invited her friends and family to come enjoy some last fellowship
Created a spreadsheet telling her son what to do when he becomes her Executor
Scheduled a visit with her only granddaughter, the light of her life
She tired easily those last days, but her spirit still soared. I'm really proud of her and it was an honor to walk through this process with her. On Monday, May 15, 2017 about 8:30pm, her little fire just went out. She was ready and there were no undone tasks left to do.
Why am I telling you this in a24k Gold NUGGET?
None of us know when our time will end. The choices are few. You can get all your ducks in a row early or wait until the last minute, or worse yet, you can hide your head in the sand and let your survivors sort out the mess you leave behind.
You do not have to be like Nan facing a life threatening illness to start the process of end-of-life planning. Nan gave her family a huge gift of pre-planning. She got her affairs in order. There are no unanswered questions about her desires for distributing her stuff, or her legal and financial issues. She also prepaid her funeral expenses and gave her thoughts on her Celebration of Life service. No need for last minute emotional or financial decisions to be made during or after the dying process. She was ready to see Jesus...how about you?
Life long friend Stan Craig was not as fortunate. When his younger brother died of lung cancer, he discovered the tragedy of no end-of-life planning. He was left with the burdensome decisions and tasks of handling his brother's estate and final affairs. The pain of this process lead Stan to write the book ForeTalk: The 7 Critical Conversations for Living in the Season of Now.
ForeTalk is the book on Christian end-of-life planning. It is the complete guide to selecting and buying life insurance, burial insurance, the required documents including a living will, durable powers of attorney for both healthcare and finance, a last will and testament, choosing the right attorney, legacy giving and living everyday with purpose and care. ForeTalk is about life affirmation.
ForeTalk has a special relationship with NetLaw, a provider of online, State specific documentation you need to do your final preparations. And here is the good news. This link is for a free NetLaw account from ForeTalk that will provide you three essentials: https://goo.gl/iUKJTK
A living will,
A durable power of attorney for healthcare and
5 HIPPA authorizations
This free digital online account is specific to ForeTalk followers! Your account is password protected but can be sent to all who need to see, know and follow the instructions as you wish. These healthcare documents come with my blessings for you and your family's best interest as we all move toward our final days. Prepare NOW not tomorrow.
NetLaw offers a complete legal estate plan in compliance with the laws of your State for only $299. That's a bargain! But it is not necessary for you to access the free healthcare documents.
Consider creating either a written or video legacy that takes care of your instructions for your last days. Give this to someone who will deliver it to your loved ones the minute you are gone.
If you do a handwritten legacy, update it each year at tax preparation time. Include in this document your preparations for a memorial service or an organ donation or a body donation to a medical school. Include the location of all the end-of-life documentation you have prepared.
If you wish to create a living legacy video or a pictorial slide show, check Passages in Time, a service by Dan Bartlett, is a wise choice. Reasonably priced services may include:
A one hour video complete with background footage, your voice, music overlay. Dan will shoot the footage, edit it to your satisfaction and provide you with a copy that can be duplicated. Your finished personal video will be up to an hour in length leaving your last and lasting instructions to your family and may include your life story along with blessings and encouragements to your family. Include the stories you want to have your family remember. Speak about your faith. Discuss your desires for your funeral/memorial service. Tell your spouse and children where to find all the things they will need on the day when you are no longer here. Pricing upon request.
Slide Shows are available for $4/slide and are suitable for memorial services and keepsakes. Samples to review are available.
Family Photo books will be produced and set for print. Fees will be determined by the number of copies of the books you wish to receive.