Don’t worry. But have an advance directive.

March 28, 2016

dont worry
“I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about,” said my doctor the other day, when I asked about something during a routine visit.  “You’re perfectly healthy.”

“I feel like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop,” I said. It’s true. Ever since I turned 60, death has stared me in the eye. I try not to be too paranoid with her, but it’s come up before.

“We’ve got to change that,” she said.

It’s complicated, the relationship I have with mortality. When people our age, hell, our friends, start passing on I think it’s natural to think even more about mortality.

As a young person, I, we, really, thought more about how we were going to live than how we were going to die. But now, I think more about dying.

How I’ll die.

How I want to die. But also how I don’t want to die, not yet.

What would make a good death?  I think about those things.

When my doctor handed us Advance Directives  and asked us about our end-of-life care wishes a few years ago at our physicals, it took me by surprise.  It shouldn’t have, really, because everyone should have one, at any age.  Dying is not just for the old.

Would I want to be resuscitated? Under what circumstances?

How much of a deficit, if any, am I–are you– willing to live with? My mother and her bright spirit lived just about the entire final year of her life bedridden in a hospital, where she got the sepsis that killed her. It was a terrible death and an awful last year.

Even if she’d gotten out, dialysis was going to be necessary. I just couldn’t picture her in a nursing home.

But can I envision myself in one?

It’s not that I’m obsessed with dying–the business of life keeps us occupied most of every year. We’re determined to live a full life and make our dreams come true. But the backdrop to that is the growing number of birthdays that we’re grateful to have. But realistic about.

Decisions about what we want at the end of our lives will be made for us if we don’t have a living will.  I have the advance directive, but I haven’t had it witnessed yet. I need to do that soon.

What about you? Do you have one?


33 comments on “Don’t worry. But have an advance directive.
  1. Yes. Lost both of my parents last year. They both had advance directives & I had time to discuss their wishes with both of them. Made final decisions a lot easier because I knew what their wishes were. It’s a gift we can give our spouses & children.

  2. carla says:

    quite frankly I had avoided thinking about all this until my OWN MOTHER informed me she selected my sister to carry out her wishes (and added she didnt trust me as Im too soft hearted ;)).
    I need to sit in some solitude and decide what I want and then write it all down.
    You’re so right….

  3. Stacey says:

    I do have a Living Will as well as a Will. I am also in the process of listing all accounts (with telephone numbers) that will need to be closed when my time comes so my executor has all the information needed to make the process easier. That includes how to get into my AOL account to close it as well as my Facebook page. One final tax return will also need to be filed, so I am providing information on who has prepared my tax returns in the past. I am not ill, I am just trying to be proactive.

  4. Haralee says:

    I have to find it! I am prepaying my cremation expense and am familiar with the Death with Dignity Law if I am lucky enough to be able to employ it.

  5. Yes, we both have them, and wills. I feel, at 54, that time is so precious, as I see friends and loved ones get seriously ill way too young.

  6. My husband who passed away three years ago in his 40’s did not have one. It was a mess. As his wife I did not get to make his arrangements. His mother stepped in. I wish he had made one.

  7. I’ve told my husband what I want – no resuscitation, no ventilators and my body to be donated. I’ve also officially filled out a form about the donation. We don’t seem to have the other options here in India – but a close relative gets to make those decisions for us. I think it’s a practical thing to do at any age.

  8. Ruth Curran says:

    Oh I absolutely have an advanced directive! When I worked in Quality of Care for a homecare agency I saw too many people unable to advocate for themselves. Sometimes they were at the mercy of well-intentioned people motivated by personal issues (mostly children who would not let go even when quality was so far gone). I will not saddle my son or my husband with that burden!!!

  9. Oh yes. For years now. All the paperwork and decisions made. It has even given me peace of mind for the final days. My mother is now bedridden and living with my sister. Their situation seems miserable to me. When I thought she might come my way I investigated nursing homes and I found several that were pretty great! I told my kids that I wouldn’t mind that at all- just give me patio, a piano, and some paint!

  10. Jen Becerril says:

    I really had not even thought about it to be completely honest.I do need to take them time and really think about making one up.Thanks for opening my eyes up.

  11. It’s so important to have an advanced directive. My husband passed away at 49 and it was good that he had one because it avoids dealing with not knowing what to do or what others may pressure you to do. It’s difficult to think about, though.

  12. Lawrence Hamilton says:

    I do have one if it hit the fan and it’s time for me to go. I don’t like thinking about it either, but I have to.

  13. Yes, we have directives. sigh. We did it years ago. Probably need to look and remember what we have.

  14. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I was brought up not to talk about this subject. But, my father was very sick with heart disease – I lived with the fear of him dying – every day. I wish there was more talk about dying in our society. I changed this…I speak openly about dying with my husband and children. I want to live my life to the fullest…but when it is not full anymore – I do not want to live. I gave them examples, of what I think a full life is. For example, I do not want to live in an Alzheimers unit. We have health directives. Our kids have them. We are all dying from the moment we are born. No one knows when their time is up. I believe that life is for the living! I do not want to be a burden to my family. They do not like the conversation, but they appreciate how important it is.

  15. I have both an advanced directive and Medical POA signed, notarized and on file at my local hospital. The notarization is important. They can override without it.

  16. Advance directives are so terribly important. If only my mother-in-law had had them written up before her debilitating stroke… and subsequent resuscitations that have kept her alive but little more, only to waste away little by little.

    YES, take the time for advance directives — before they’re necessary.

  17. angie says:

    I have had a living will for many years. We first wrote it with a lawyer when our children were little. It instructed what we wanted to happen if we died and what should be done to keep us alive.

  18. Crystal Gard says:

    I don’t have a will yet. But plan to get one in the near future.

  19. We do have them but this is a good reminder to take a look at what we said!

  20. Liv says:

    Hubs and I talk about it all the time, so we know what the line is – and when it has been crossed.

  21. Leanne says:

    I don’t have one yet but I do think about my mortality and if I’m leaving any kind of legacy. I’ve also been to a few funerals and am morbid enough to be thinking about my own and how differently I’d want it done. I do think an advanced directive is definitely the way to go.

  22. Ricki says:

    I had to create all that at 40 when I got divorced and had sole custody of a 5 year old. My Dr/First Cousin is my proxy. I figured that anyone in the family would talk to him before making any decisions first, so I left it up to him. His instruction from me is to check on me and trip on the plug on his way out the door.

  23. pia says:

    when I made my will, the lawyer asked if I wanted an AD. It’s a state law in SC—and I think a great one to offer them when you make a will—and there’s always a notary.
    A bit surprised that a doctor would ask, and not have a notary on premises

  24. Eileen says:

    At age 48, 3 years ago almost to the day, I had a stroke, a few actually. I live everyday to the fullest and embrace every second. I do have a living will, I do not want to ever be a burden to my family if I ever had a massive stroke. Enjoy life!

  25. Yes, we have them, but as Lois said, it’s time to revisit and make sure they’re still what we want. Having lost all four of our parents–who had the good sense to make their wishes known–we want to pass that same gift on to those we leave behind. None of us is getting out of here alive–we owe it to ourselves to make sure that final transition is handled the way WE want it to be. Great post, Carol.

  26. Lisa Froman says:

    So sorry about your mom. I think it is natural to think about death. But maybe that is just me. I don’t have a directive and haven’t thought much about preparations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.