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An unfulfilled promise

By Sherrie
Posted on

I had the conversation with my grandparent.

If you have a special connection to someone in your circle of loved ones who understands you, your perspective on life, and how you want to live and die - talk to them. And then complete an advance directive naming them your surrogate decision maker.
 I had the conversation.  But we didn’t follow up the conversation by putting those thoughts onto paper and into a legal document.  As a result I wasn’t able to fulfill the promise I had made to my grandmother not to allow her to suffer a slow, lingering death in the nursing home she despised.  I wasn’t the legal decision maker.  This means I couldn’t withhold antibiotic treatment from her when she developed aspiration pneumonia after she suffered a severe stroke that left her unable to move, communicate, or recognize her family.

Twenty years after her death, I still live with the guilt that she died in exactly the way she had made me promise not to allow her to leave this world.  If you have a special connection to someone in your circle of loved ones who understands you, your perspective on life, and how you want to live and die – talk to them.  And then complete an advance directive naming them your surrogate decision maker.  Give them the legal authority they need to act on your behalf and ensure you are provided care at the end of life that is consistent with your wishes and your values.  We owe our loved ones that much.

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