Nelson Mandela does not have a living will. The final days of this man’s extraordinary life involve an array of medical devices that keep him alive, but not living. I don’t know if that was his wish, and apparently no one else does either, because he didn’t make his wishes clear before he lost the ability to communicate.
That’s not how I want to spend my final days, and I have made it explicitly clear in legal documents and in discussions with my family. I want to die as my father-in-law did last year. He put up a good fight against liver cancer, but when it became clear it was a fight he couldn’t win, treatment stopped. Instead of feeling sick every day from chemotherapy that might have given him a few extra months, he wanted to enjoy his last days as fully as possible.
He did. There is a video of him at home playing the piano and singing just a week before he passed. I spent time with him and one of his sons in those final days laughing, joking and teasing the way guys do. He was surrounded by family and supported by a wonderful hospice nurse who helped us all travel with him to his peaceful end, in his home, in his bed.
If you haven’t made your wishes clear, and aren’t sure what happens in the hospital when you don’t, a group of doctors has put up a web site that will guide you through the procedures that may be used to prolong your life. Talk to your doctor. Talk with your family. Prepare a living will.
Death comes to us all, but there are choices we can make about how we come to death.
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier