Living Will

07 February 2011

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.

9 comments:

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

Ugh. I hate thinking about those things, but you're right, it's really important. Thanks for the reminder.

Samantha said...

Yes, yes, and yes! I have most of that stuff squared away. I've had a living will, durable power of attorney, and will done since I started working at the firm, but Russ and I just re-did ours when Miss Roxy made her arrival so we could make sure she was taken care of if anything happened to us. It is morbid and not a fun topic, but something that has to be addressed. I'll never forget when we asked my brother and SIL if they would take Roxy if the unmentionable happened and I think it was the only time I've ever heard him speechless :) They agreed because, well, who can resist Roxy? LOL!

PS - Love the new color scheme :)

Melissa said...

This is a great point--morbid yes, but this stuff needs to be talked about! My husband and I have talked about it all but have yet to create a living will. I guess this will be dinner convo tonight!

Love your blog, and it's a super random first post to comment on, I know...next time I'll pick a fun one :)

Ms.Wasteland said...

I don't have a living will but really we all should have one. My mom and dad each did one recently and they gave a copy to me. It's been on my long term to do list for a long time. Thanks for the reminder.

Mommy Lisa said...

My husband was kind of horrified I would want to be creamated but he promised he would do it. We talk about that stuff in my family and my hubby kind of rolled with it - He is all for not being a vegetable.

Wait, was that insensitive?

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

After watching my aunt go through all of that with her stroke, having your affairs in order is a nice gift for your family. The living will is so important, too! Those decisions are so hard anyway and without any indication of your wishes, it can be so much worse. I really need to sit my husband down and have that conversation. Thanks for the reminder!

Jana said...

I have an advanced directive that basically says "pull the plug people!" I told my husband, as long as I am alive you will never be able to move on with your life, you won't be able to collect my life insurance...I need to do a living will, but basically I don't even want to be existing in a vegetative state on a feeding tube stuck in a bed in some home. No thanks. My kids deserve better than to be burdened with that. My husband can't talk about it either.

Two Normal Moms said...

Yep we talk about it. And we're okay with it. The only part we disagree on is my husband's wish to have his ashes scattered over second base at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Cause I'm not going to jail for you, dude.
All joking aside, it's a serious conversation and one that should most definitely take place. Life can change in the blink of an eye, and rarely are people prepared.

Jackie said...

I remember that accident (Nicole right?). As a non-married, non-parent things like this are not part of the regular thought process. But I'll be damned if I will let anyone leave me to fend on machines. Save someone else with my organs, cremate me and spread me on the most beautiful places I have ever been. Then throw a kick ass party and laugh about all the stupid shit I did when I was around:)

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