It has been an exhausting week (and my body is crying uncle) so today was absolutely 100% set aside for bedrest and catchup work that could be done there – nutrition school, Young Living, Gameplan class, Daniel Plan group. Much to do.
As I was cleaning off an old flash drive I found to use for school, I discovered an old folder of papers I wrote for a counseling class (I’m qualified for all kinds of crazy stuff, y’all).
This particular class really helped me in my nursing career as it was on dealing with death and dying and I vaguely remember this assignment but stumbling across it today still stopped me in my tracks.
The assignment, called “Five Final Wishes,” was just that: our end of life and funeral wishes.
I saved it on 10/24/11, 10 months before I got deathly ill with a GI bleed from Celiac Disease and two years before my autoimmune disease hit hard.
This is it:
Final Five Wishes
As a nurse, I have worked with the dying and have been with hospice patients in their homes as they have passed on. Because of those experiences, I have several specific requests for my Final Five Wishes.
First, I would choose for my healthcare agent my spouse, Courtney. He has always stood beside me, no matter how difficult the circumstances, and would absolutely ensure my wishes are honored. If he were unable to be my agent, I would choose my best friend, Ginny. She and I have been through many losses together, including both of her parents, and I know she would make the right decisions and not prolong my suffering.
Second, in the case of a terminal diagnosis, I do not want any form of life support. I do not want CPR, tube feeding, antibiotics, dialysis, or any kind of ventilator. I only want comfort care. By that, I mean I ask to be kept clean and dry, to be given food and water by mouth as long as I can have it, to have my mouth moistened after I cannot swallow, to be given pain meds to prevent discomfort and air hunger, and to be kept as comfortable as possible without any extraordinary measures. I would like to be taken home if at all possible and for my family to be nearby unless doing so would cause them unnecessary distress. I would like to have my iPod playing and a cool, comfortable environment. I would appreciate a visit from our minister if he is able to come.
Lastly, after I have died, I would prefer to be cremated and scattered from the chapel at Camp Sumatanga. However, if it is important to any loved ones to have a burial instead that is fine as well. Either way, I would like a simple memorial service with my favorite music and the Psalms marked in my Bible. If I am to be buried, I do wish to have a closed casket visitation and memorial service. Most importantly, I want my loved ones to have peace about my passing, remember our happy times, and live their lives to the fullest.
While all of that is still true, I honestly have come closer to needing it a few times in these past six years than I ever could have imagined.
And we’ve dealt with several unexpected losses among those close to us.
And I have close friends dealing with serious health crisis now.
So, more than ever, I know just how fragile these bodies of ours can be and how quickly life can become a battle.
But I’m thankful for this assignment and I’m glad I found it today.
Not because it’s dark or morbid – it’s really not – but because, despite the scary stuff and the illness and the bad days, I’m still here.
No matter how rough it’s gotten, God has seen me through and I’m still fighting and plan to be for a long time.
Also, I’m grateful for every day and every breath because I know better than your average bear that they aren’t guaranteed.
I think I needed to find it today because I’ve been struggling with a lot of guilt over my need for “down days” in bed – a common spoonie issue – so I’ve been trying not to take them and it’s caught up with me. And that can have serious consequences.
I have to remember that my health situation is fragile and I have to do whatever is necessary to keep myself well.
Even if it means sitting myself in bed all day several days a week when I’m not doing well.
Sometimes I need to be reminded of what the alternative can be.
So it’s going to be a down weekend for me – rest, schoolwork, football watching, and church. Nothing else. Time to get caught up.
Be well, everybody.
Love and light. ❤️💛💚💙💜