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Car insurance. Home insurance. Renters’ insurance. Medical insurance. Life insurance. Most of us responsibly prepare for the ‘what ifs…of life. And then, from many years of negligence or inability to reimburse, the government insists that if we own a vehicle, it must have basic collision coverage. We insure almost everything we value. It gives us assurance and peace of mind. Should anything unfortunate happen to our worldly possessions, we’ve paid a surety to recover the loss of it. That’s an intelligent and responsible thing to do. We confidently make these provisions with clever foresight. Something could happen, so we’d better be ready for it. So, when is the right time to prepare for the end of life? And how should we prepare for end-of-life?

When is the right time to prepare for end-of-life?

Well, let me ask you this. When do you prepare to purchase car insurance? When do you purchase homeowner’s or renter’s insurance? When do you decide it’s time to have medical insurance? In years past, obtaining insurance for children demonstrated responsible parenting. However, in recent years, many have been advised that it’s no longer financially feasible to insure persons whose passing won’t impact the overall household income in any significant way. Should I say, “Go FundMe,” but that’s a prickly conversation for another day. If you’re following the pattern here: prepare now, when life begins. Now, this doesn’t mean travel through life all sullen as if the grave rest around the corner. Yet, wisdom whispers, “Go ahead and live a full and bountiful life, but first get all your ducks in a row and consider all your peas in the pod.” Preparation makes life better–way better.

How should we prepare for the end of life?

Start today preparing for yourself and every member of your family. The right time to prepare for the end of life happens throughout life. It’s more than pay for a plot in a cemetery. Death insurance (I have no idea why it’s called life insurance) cannot become the end game. We ready ourselves for the end of life by living purposefully. No matter what the age, thrive and make the most of each day. Live like today holds your last. Leave a fingerprint of your presence on people in your life. Still, prepare today for the end yet live as though many days await you. How grand a notion. Incorporate end-of-life prep into intimate conversations with loved ones. Ask each other what do you want others to remember most about you. Talk about fond memories and favorite songs and favorite pastimes. Listen and note common sayings and familiar anecdotes that loved ones say. My mom has two familiar phrases, “I’m saying all of this to say,” and “To make a long story short…” We often tease her that this epithet will get engraved on her stone. “We’re saying all of this to say…To make a long story short, here lies Emily…Beloved and Dearly Loved.” We have no idea how it all will fit, but we kid about these end-of-life events. Now, we’re comfortable discussing some of the weightier matters. My sister and I had a pact that if either of us needs life support, we will pull the plug after three days. We symbolically represented the three days of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. If we recovered, wonderful, and if we didn’t, wonderful. That was about ten years ago. Now that we’re much older and wiser, we’ve opted for seven days: The Father completed His work and rested. Should this become our plight, we shall begin anew, living on into day eight, or we too will rest from our earthly labor on the seventh day. But as you see, we talk about it.

My sister and I have always been at ease speaking about our end-of-life desires, but not my mom. Some years ago, she had a near-death experience, and I had to decide about her care. When I tell you that that was the most horrific experience is an understatement. I needed to make the right decision. Doctors pressuring me about treatment (no options), just do what they tell me–NOW. The weight of making life and death decisions about another person’s life… I’m at a loss for words. It’s so much easier to decide about my own life. No one can charge me on what end-of-life decisions I make for myself, but I’d have to answer to my mom’s siblings and my siblings if I chose wrongly. No bueño.

So what’s the solution to this age-old dilemma embodying when is the right time to prepare for end-of-life matters and how? It’s all in the lingo–talk it up. Keep it lighthearted. Make it fun. Remember, it’s a natural process, so engage with death, end-of-life, normally and confidently in the same manner that we deal with life.

 

 

Live Long and Prosper.

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