A woman killed by her boyfriend/fiancé/husband. A child struck by a car in a hit and run incident. A woman is accused of killing her husband with a coffee cup. A terrible car accident results in multiple deaths. Cancer has taken more lives. A child dies in football practice. 50 animals, many deceased or starving, were recovered in a hoarder case. Local/national news stories are completely unbearable. It overwhelms me in a sense of hopelessness and therefore I try to avoid it.
Like most, my family has endured multiple terrible instances that would all fit seamlessly in the local news. But until this week I have never thought about the importance of having a living will. It’s an uncomfortable thing to think about.
When do I want medical care providers to stop treatment? How comfortable do I want to be? Who will make decisions when I cannot? Do I want to be buried or cremated? If I want to be buried, where? Will there be a funeral? If so, where? What will be said? Who will have the power of attorney? What would I want loved ones to know? It makes me feel uneasy to even type it out. However, I have recently experienced what can occur without having written answers when tragedy unexpectedly occurs.
Lifestyle choices and belief systems are important to each of us. Sometimes they align with our family while others conflict. Without a will an already horrific situation can turn into something even worse. When loved ones are suddenly put in situations to care for someone in need, it requires involvement of personal lifestyle choices and belief systems. Family can only do what they know to be best to protect and care for those they love.
It’s devastating to watch a large family experience a terrible loss. It’s worse that there is heavy disagreement and conflict over the final proceedings. It has been said that this loss and division of beliefs could tear a family apart.
If final arrangements are previously decided by each of us, it (hopefully) alleviates additional pain. Division of lifestyle choices and beliefs often involves hatred and intolerance which then shuts down all possibility of finding a middle ground or working to agree to disagree. Compromise is absolutely out of the question. This is exasperated when decisions have to be made quickly and when emotions are at an all time high. The consequence is additional pain and suffering during an already difficult time. At a time of tragedy, family should be focused on grieving and supporting one another instead of being at war. This is not a time for victory.
It’s difficult to know, even for those who I know best, how I would handle and make decisions during tragic circumstances. It’s even difficult for me to provide specific details of what I would want. Although uncomfortable to think and talk about, if we all make decisions in case of a tragic event, we have done our best to care for our loved ones, and leave behind only memories instead of conflict.