In my family, we talk about things like what we’d want done if something were ever to happen. We’re practical like that. We also joke about things like colonoscopies, my Meme is a colon cancer survivor and she passed on the sweet ass need for everyone in the family to get them earlier than the average Joe. We are weird. I know this. My grandfather, my mother’s father, died of a massive heart attack in his forties. I have to guess that when something like that happens to a family, you look at death at that early age, and you realize it could happen to anyone. I lost a good friend when I was in the eighth grade. She was a freshman in high school when she was hit by a car and brain dead from the injuries she sustained. In the midst of all that, her mom selflessly donated her organs.
It made an impression on me, a big one.
This weekend, we were watching CSI and there were, as usual, a bunch of dead folks they were attempting to solve murders for. It reminded me that I wanted to remind Dave about my living will. If something were to happen right now, while baby numero dos is brewing, in the event that I was brain dead, and the baby was ok, I’d want him to keep me on life support until he or she arrived. I told him it was all in writing, but I was just giving him a little reminder, just in case, since it was much different than how I normally feel about things. Yes, I want them to try to save my life, but if I was not going to recover, I don’t want to be kept alive by machines and never get out of a hospital bed again. That isn’t the quality of life I want, nor do I want my family or friends to be unable to move on. I’m also an organ donor because dude, you can’t take it with you.
He looked at me completely horrified that I would throw that at him during CSI. His family? Not so much with the talking about stuff like that off the cuff. He responded with a, “Michelle, I thought you were going to put your mom in charge of that. I have a hard enough time getting rid of a car that I have had for twelve years. What the hell would I do if I needed to get rid of you??”
“Um, I would be brain dead Dave, not there. You’re my husband so it falls to you now that we’re married.” We talked about it before we were married when I had the papers drawn up & notorized. We talked about it a few months ago when the giant suck of a hospital stay happened and things were dicey in the ER and they asked if I had a living will. Yes, there are probably more appropriate times than in the middle of CSI, but the talking about it is the important part.
Death sucks, it is awful and you never ever want it to happen. Ever. But it happens. It blows and it’s often inexplicable, painful, and awful for those left behind. You don’t have to be as open about discussing it as we are, but someone should know your wishes. Don’t leave the people you love most agonizing and guessing how you feel about things in a moment like that. Do you want life saving measures taken? What if you were brain dead? Do you want your organs donated? Do you want a funeral? To be buried? Cremated? Only you can answer those questions. Hopefully, none of these answers need to be utilized until you’re into your nineties and you’ve lived all the life you ever wanted to live, but someone should know. And even better… put it in writing!
Yeah, yeah I know it’s morbid, but have you ever thought about it? Do you have a written living will? Have you made your wishes known to your family? How do you feel about sharing your wishes with others? By the way, so you know, they are extremely easy to do and you can find directions on completing them online.