Years ago I chaplained at St. Mike’s hospital as a part of my CPE training (CPE stands for “Clinical Pastoral Education” and is the standard in chaplaincy training, it can also stand for “Crying Practically Every day” but that is another story). The worst thing I experience emotionally at the hospital involved an end of life decision that wasn’t made beforehand. It was traumatic being relatively sure that this patient had certain desires but not being able to follow them because nothing had been formalized. The family begged, but neither the physician nor I (at the time at St. Mike’s chaplains were the people behind Advance Directives – I don’t know if that is still true since it is now a part of Ascension Healthcare) could get a coherent word from the patient expressing their desire. It was awful. The family hurt. The hospitalist and I hurt for them, but there was nothing we could do.
So this whole crisis has reminded me to encourage everyone I know to formalize your end of life decisions now when you are able to make them. Make your own decisions so someone else doesn’t have to guess at them or do nothing because they aren’t sure. This has nothing to do with COVID-19 other than it serving as a reminder for me to encourage people to do this. It is a smart idea to have these done – crisis or no crisis. So below are two links, one to a free will-maker and the other to a state by state site for making advance directives (the broader term for living wills).
- Make your own will at FreeWill.com – freewill.com does this to encourage people to give to non-profits, which I think is an awesome idea.
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s list of Advance Directives for each state can be found HERE.
I’m no lawyer, so if your life is more complicated go talk to a lawyer for a more thorough setup. These two websites work for my simple life. Also, they are free, so that is a bonus. I love my simple life and I love free too.
My hope is that none of us will need to use either of these forms for a very long time. It is just my inner-“Boy Scout” coming out saying “Be Prepared”.
Either that, or my inner-Scar coming out, but I prefer the inner-“Boy Scout”.