What should we do with and for you?
What would you do with and for me?

There are some conversations that can and should take place well before the end is near.  Since we never know how or when the end will come, it’s best to have these conversations even when we are healthy.  Sometimes the best decisions have to be made closer to the end because the circumstances may be different from what we planned. What to say?  When and how to bring up the subject?  What should be talked about?

No matter when you have the conversation, these questions will help your family make important decisions. There are many more. Hopefully, you will record the conversation to avoid confusion or misunderstandings with family, care givers and professional decision makers.

Who do you want with you in your last days and hours?

Which of your family and “friends” do you not want to be with you in your last days and hours?

Are there things that you would like to say to particular people before you die?  (love, forgiveness, regrets, etc.)
Are there things remaining for you to do in order for you to have completion and meaning for you before you say, “I’m ready to die”?

What extra measures should be used to keep you alive if you are awake, aware, or in a coma?

What guidelines should we have for medicating you for pain relief?  What level of pain are you willing to endure in order to stay alert (to see a loved one who is traveling to see you; to see a last sunset; or to simply  stay alert until you draw your last breath). What signal can we use so we know when you have endured enough and want additional medication if you can speak?

Is there an occasion or situation that you want to be a part of before you let go of your life? (Hospitals and hospices often report that people will rally to see someone or to learn of some news.)

Where are the papers that give the care providers instructions on whether to extend your life or let you go (for instance, DNR __ Do Not Resuscitate and a Durable Power of Attorney)?

Are there religious/spiritual rites or rituals that you want performed with you or for you?

How should your care givers think about financial considerations, in regards to your care?  Spend every cent you’ve got?  Put family into long term debt? Let me die a natural death?

Resources, Ideas and materials to help make important decisions and create meaningful family activities before, during and after a loss.

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