Be Here Then

why and how to write & create an ethical will, hospice card, or other legacy

Archive for the tag “end of life”

An oncologist, a patient, a hospice, and a goodbye

This post is not about ethical wills but it is very much about saying what needs to be said.  I just now came across this blog post written by oncologist Don S. Dizon, MD, about saying goodbye to patients, especially those going into hospice care.  I think this doc has guts and a strong heart.

It has been quite a while since I have read something so concise, yet so moving.  I offer it in the hopes that it will move some of you to think about what needs saying by you, but have not yet quite managed it.

My own experience of illness, loss, and the kindnesses of others has prompted me to say now the things I previously stored away in my heart – sharing gratitude in the moment is important.  We never know when an opportunity is the last one we will be given.

And regret, especially for kindnesses not offered, gratitude not expressed, is a corrosive burden.  Lighten up.  And thanks to Dr. Dizon for his example.


Writing about illness, end-of-life issues

While having to spend a bit more time on family care and away from here, I came across this post from NPR Health News, “Why More Patients Should Blog About Illness and Death.”  Title just makes you want to run and read it, yes?  No, most of us probably would rather run the other way.  Just for a second — don’t.

I think it’s a good read, and a great prompt.   Think about some conversations you may need to have with your own family.   And think about what you want to leave as your legacy.  If you write a blog along these lines, then you already have the material for an ethical will.  If you read some of these blogs, then you will undoubtedly get some wonderful ideas and, I hope, the comfort of knowing others are having these difficulties, and these conversations, and doing all right.

Good reading to you!

Bhagavad Gita and words for hospice cards

There are many sources of inspiration and guidance for our spiritual, moral, and emotional lives, and ethical wills and other legacy letters frequently draw on those sources for their content. We can draw on those sources as well for a hospice card or note we want to send to someone we care for who is in hospice care.

“Arjuna, I am the taste of pure water and

the radiance of the sun and moon.  I am

the sacred word and the sound heard in air and

the courage of human beings. I am Read more…

More examples for your own hospice card ideas

As promised in the first post on the hospice card theme on the 24th, here are a few more ideas of what I might like to hear from among my very varied friends (and consider writing your own legacy letter or ethical will, as well.)

orangeflowerBHT“My dear friend! It wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? Never in a million years did we think we wouldn’t get to be old folks together, rocking out and scandalizing the neighborhood! Now who will I be misbehaving with? I love you! You have always, always made me laugh, and I am so very grateful for you in my life. I’m sending you a huge hug and here’s a picture of our first bloom of that flower you love so much.” Read more…

Show your face: here’s one way to make your own hospice cards

To continue the previous post’s theme of hospice cards, despite our typical focus on ethical wills, here is one idea for how to easily make your own card to give or send someone you love who is in hospice care:

This one is based on the premise that I think being surrounded by photographs of the people I love and the places I love would be heartwarming. If you can’t be there visiting, I might still like to look at you and smile.

jackson for hospice card(You could even send me a picture you took of my dog that day you reminded me that lake water doesn’t move, like tidal water does!)

So here are two simple versions: Read more…

End-of-Life Issues and Hospice Cards

While a main focus of Be Here Then has been ethical wills, it also concerns itself with end of life issues. This includes hospice, that service of helping patients live as fully and as well as they are able when cure is no longer an option, or is no longer sought. When someone is knowingly facing their ending days, it becomes difficult for many of us to know what to say, or to do. Frankly, it scares a lot of us.

We have few, if any, models for how to relate. Regina Holliday has become another patient care advocate, and started a petition to ask Hallmark to start a line of hospice cards. I have signed her petition, and I encourage you to visit her blog and read her story.  But that’s not all —

I confess a wee part of me is a bit dismayed, because one of my plans was to introduce exactly that: a line of “greeting” cards that might be usable for friends in hospice care. Of course, as John Lennon sang, life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans, and the cards idea had to be back-burnered.

But we don’t have to wait for a greeting card company to help make this conversation.  Why don’t we start, ourselves — by imagining what kinds of things we might want to have written in a card to us, as a way to help figure out what to say to someone we love who is now in hospice care.

What follows are a few examples of what I’d love to read from a few of my friends, and one example of what I would write to one of mine. Read more…

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