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Last Wishes with Jessamyn

Following her emotional experiences with loss, Michelle has created a series of podcasts to help others by discussing ways to plan for the inevitable and help the healing. Jessamyn Putnam joins her on Episode 2, entitled, “Last Wishes with Jessamyn,” in which last wishes and end-of-life planning are discussed.

Michelle lost her parents unexpectedly in a tragic car accident and then lost her brother following his battle with cancer.  Her journey taught her things that she wished she did not have to learn the hard way.  Therefore she created this podcast to help others discover what they should do in advance.  She believes that in order to live well, we must learn how to die well.  And her sincerest wish is that she can help others prepare for, and not be scared about preparing for, the inevitable.  Her podcast contains interviews with hospice, a funeral director, a pastor, and several people and organizations who can be involved with end-of-life decisions.  These podcasts are free and available to everyone.  When asked if this was part of her grief journey and a way for her to make meaning out of her loss, Michelle responded that yes it was.

After listening to the series, one hospice nurse stated, “This series of podcasts has given me a clear focus and I want to share these podcasts with so many more people!”

Remember, that in order to live well we must learn how to die well, and by learning from Michelle’s experience, maybe some of the stress and anxiety associated with end-of-life decision making will be reduced.  Death is never easy, but creating a plan for it now will go a long well to helping you and the ones you leave behind.

Last Wishes with Jessamyn 

Life Affirming Conversations

End of life conversations can be intimidating and difficult, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  In changing our perspective, we realize that in fact these are conversations that result in life affirming decisions.  By writing down our preferences, we control our right to choose what happens at the end.  Engaging in these conversations and decisions is an act of love, as you are ensuring that your family does not have to guess what you want when you are no longer in a position to communicate.  Making a plan, and engaging your family in it as you know best, will go far in reducing stress and anxiety when your loved ones have to make decisions that impact you.

So what kind of decisions?

Well, who will be your Medical Power of Attorney and/or your Statutory Durable Power of Attorney?  Have you created an Advanced Directive or an Out-of-Hospital DNR?  If you are not comfortable starting these conversations with your family, then you have another option – in 2016 Medicare approved payment for end of life conversations with your physician. Or, you can use the opportunity of holidays and evening dinners to organically start the conversation with your family by just asking what they envision taking place for themselves at the end of their life.

The same holds true with your wishes regarding your funeral.  Your Power of Attorney expires upon death.  Who will you appoint your Agent of Disposition?  Do you prefer cremation or burial?  These are also important discussions in which to involve your family.  Moreover, you can visit your preferred Funeral Home to document and/or prepay for your chosen services.

While you are alive and healthy, you get to make these choices.  Others can provide input, but it is ultimately your choice.  And by proactively making end of life decisions, you are affirming your life decisions and reducing the stress and anxiety that comes when family members do not know their loved ones preferences.