Read. Reflect. Share.
Everyone has a story. About losing someone close. About what it was like to have the conversation. About not talking about wishes until it was too late.
Explore these stories that others have shared, and if you’d like, tell us your own story. Hearing about other people’s experiences can be a good way to get your own conversation started.
Click below to hear the audio of Frank Lilley’s conversation with his stepfather, David Plant, about approaching the end of his life.
It was recorded as part of StoryCorps’ Legacy Initiative – an effort to collect interviews with people who have life-threatening conditions.
Also, we encourage you to Share your own story about your father.
I was at home one evening, when my mother called. “Do you have a few minutes to talk? Daddy and I just got back from dinner with friends and we have a few things we want to talk about with you…” I immediately made a few minutes, corralling my 2d and 4th grade daughters and telling them I’d be on the phone for a bit, please not to disturb me unless it was urgent. “So what’s up?” I asked, really... Read More
Actually, the conversation was initiated by my mother over a period of 40 years. All her 6 children were very aware of her wishes and she diligently prepared for the end, little by little, over time, in the 18 years she survived my father. She disposed of belongings, making sure family heirlooms were placed, organized her will and finances, downsized to a studio apartment in a senior independent living institution, wroteD her obituary, including a photo, providing information about the... Read More
My husband and I had been married for many years before be passed and he had celebrated his 67th birthday ten days before he passed away.He was full of life and energy. He just loved life. He was a painter and a paper hanger. Watching him work was like watching picasso. We were both in the business, we worked together everyday and never argued about work. He was a family man, a father, a brother, an uncle, a cousin and... Read More
In 2006 I had received a copy of the booklet entitled “Five Wishes” from a training I had attended because I am a hospice volunteer. My father had passed in 1993 and in the fall of 2006 I spent 3 hrs. of wonderful conversation with my mother going through this booklet. The time was spent focusing on her, what her desires were, the funeral service, that she wanted a DNR (do not resuscitate) and a living will. She told me... Read More
My wife died at home in hospice 3 years ago. A year before that she wrote down her end of life requests that the end not be a burden and that everyone was to celebrate her life. She always emphasized that life after death was glorious as she recalled a near death experience from decades ago. After having major surgery, she never fully recovered and eventually made the decision for palliative care as the treatment got more painful and dramatic.... Read More
END OF LIFE CONVERSATIONS As a baby-boomer who has now faced the passing of my parents and in-laws, meaningful end-of-life conversations have been a source of ease for both the passing elders and the survivors. I have friends, colleagues and students with whom I have discussed our range of end-of-life experiences. While the passing of a loved-one is not without pain or sadness, for both the departing elders and the survivors, there is a greater sense of peace and ease... Read More
It was thanks to God that Frank, my husband, our sons and and I had had “the” conversation several years before that longest day which came to an end when I told the nurse to turn off the machines which for some eight hours had sustained him while doctors decided on whether anything could or should be done. At that time, confirmation by my older son made the decision even easier, since we both knew what Frank wanted. Now that... Read More
He died surrounded by family, without pain, surrounded by love, in a home-like setting
My mom always told me that she wanted no heroics. It was in writing and all her papers were in order. I handled all of her finances. When it was evident she was suffering from the early stages of dementia, she agreed to move from Florida, move into a senior living community, and leave her longtime companion to be near me. She was 85. A year or two later, one day out of the blue, mom said she wanted to... Read More
My sister and I were with my mom several years ago when her doctors diagnosed her with a condition that would result in liver failure and there was no cure for her condition. I wished at that time the doctors would have recommended a “conversation” while she was thinking clearly. Two years later,(although it seems like overnight) her liver has shut down and she is in a state of confusion as a result of the toxins in her body. Our... Read More