Grandparents show the way in having the conversation
I had the conversation with my parent.
Don't be afraid to have these conversations with your loved ones before it's too late. I’ve been fortunate to have been raised in a family that has made end of life, a known part of life, for as long as I can remember. Our grandparents talked gently and openly with us about what they wanted to “live on” in our family when they were no longer with us. As a child, I recall not being comfortable with their slightest suggestion of dying. As a young adult, I know that I had greater involvement in and understanding of my grandparent’s end of life medical needs and care because of the open talks that our family had engaged in. Too soon after losing our grandparents, we faced critical health issues with our parents.
The example for communication had already been established, past experiences helped us to naturally have matter of fact conversations about emotionally difficult issues. My sisters and I were prepared to support and make decisions that we knew our parents would have made for themselves prior to becoming critically ill. In the face of medical crises, medical care teams commented on our family’s clear thinking and unity in decision making, in the midst of unthinkable circumstances.
It was a devastating time; looking back, I realize that navigating their end of life care as well as we possibly could was a tribute to our parents, and to our grandparents. To offer advice to other families, don’t be afraid to have these conversations with your loved ones before it’s too late.
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