While I was listening to the presentation about The Conversation Project, I started thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made in trying to have “the conversation” with my mother. As an only child of a single, aging woman, I'm well aware that I'm her next of kin and I’m afraid I’d be completely clueless if something tragic were to happen to her tomorrow. In the presentation, something came up about entering “the conversation” by talking about your wishes first. I totally did that wrong last December, but all is not lost. I know that her mausoleum plot is paid for. I remember her talking about that back when I was in middle school, primarily because she was a single parent (and an older parent) and didn’t want me to be scrambling for burial arrangements in the event of an untimely death (is death ever timely?). However, we haven’t recently discussed where that information lives.
Nonetheless, I decided to walk through some of the questions in the Conversation Project’s starter kit, to practice for future conversations regarding my end-of-life care and wishes.
Do you have any particular concerns that you want to be sure to talk about?
Yes. I want to make sure that my blog stay’s published—maybe, turn it into a book. I don’t have any children or any assets at the moments, but if my mother is still alive, I’d like to make sure that she has access to music catalog—the finished songs and the unfinished songs. I want my poetry to be published and I’d want her to have my birthday/holiday card collection. If my father is still alive, I’d want him to have a role in planning my funeral. This is particularly difficult to talk about because no one really thinks they are going to die before their parents, but life happens.
Now finish this sentence: What matters to me at the end of life is…
· That I’m comfortable and surrounded by my parents and my closest friends
· That I can speak and/or write…that I can express myself (blogging, vlogging, communicating)
· That I can listen to music (whew! I’m getting emotional writing this) …that I could listen to my music—the songs that I wrote and produced…my creations
As a patient, I’d like to know all the details about my conditions
If I had a terminal illness, I would prefer to know my doctor’s best estimation for how long I have to live.
How long do you want to receive medical care? I’m leaning more towards quality of life being more important than quantity—though I would like to try experimental treatments for as long as my body and spirit would allow. However, I don’t want my final days/months to be consumed with that. I’d rather be comfortable and making as much music or writing as many essays as possible.
This is obviously just a start, and this is very deep soul-work so I couldn't complete this all in one sitting. It’s also really difficult to do this now because I keep wanting to live in this desirable future of having a husband and children to account for, knowing that some of this would shift if I had a child to think about. Living in the now is hard at this age. I have hopes that I will have a partner and child/ren at the time of my death, but life doesn’t always give us the desires of our hearts. I look forward to continuing this work.