It’s time to begin the conversation

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

By: Emmie Jernigan

Making life and death decisions for your loved one is extremely difficult. When we are faced with this decision we are often asked if we know what our loved ones would want. Working as a consultant for Comfort Care Hospice has put me at the bedsides of very ill patients. Many of these patient’s families have difficult choices to make and have never had a conversation with their loved ones about their wishes.

My husband and father both passed away from cancer at very young ages. Our family struggled with end-of-life decisions. These decisions were extremely emotional. Yet we were able to make these decisions without guilt due to conversations about death and dying. My message to anyone who will listen is that having a conversation with our loved ones is essential. Our family should know our wishes should a difficult decision arise.  Discuss the issues.  This allows our loved ones to know what is best for us.

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End of life planning requires filling out appropriate advance care documents but conversation about these documents is the key. Telling our family members our healthcare wishes is a gift.  When my husband was sick, we were told to remember, “Dying is holy.”  We often gain the greatest insights on how to live from those closest to death. Having personally walked this journey I believe this to be true.

If your group would like more information on how to “begin the conversation,” I would be happy to share my own experiences and host a workshop. Contact Comfort Care Hospice for more information at 251.867.6232.