The best gift you can can give to your loved ones is an advance directive. An advance directive relieves family members of a tremendous burden; without an advance directive, they may otherwise may have to make some very difficult decisions, decisions that might plague them with doubt or guilt for a very long time, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
For example, say a mother of six grown children is comatose and has a poor prognosis. Each of the children might think he or she knows what’s best for Mom, but with an advance directive, even though she can’t speak, the document becomes her voice. None of the children will have to bear the burden–or the stigma–of making a difficult decision and, as sad as it is, no one will be made a scapegoat for the others’ lack of resolve or courage.
In my experience as a chaplain and pastoral care provider, I’ve seen situations like this tear people apart and create terrible rifts in families. I always advise the healthy and the competent sick to take care of this as soon as human[e]ly possible!
Do yourself and your loved ones a big favor: Make your own life decisions and make them known to your loved ones.
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