Tag Archives: Challenge

Illness and Mortality Challenge Post

A few years ago, my great-grandfather’s health was deteriorating rapidly. He had been admitted to the hospital, given a two-month prognosis, and had been settled into his living room by hospice all within a week. The day after I arrived home from college to spend time with my grandpa, my  uncle started a conversation with my mother, grandmother, and I about the game plan for my great-grandfather’s long-term care.

He laid out the basic logistics of what was currently going on with his care. He was being cared for by my family during the day with intermittent visits from nurses affiliated with our local hospital’s hospice. During the night, after the night nurse visited, my great-grandmother would try to sleep while my uncle stayed awake in case Grandpa needed anything. This would only work for the next couple of days, as my uncle had to go back home. We basically had three options: we could hire a night nurse to take care of grandpa, my mother and grandmother could take turns staying the night, or a combination of the two. Neither option was ideal, as a night nurse would cost my great-grandparents a considerable amount of money and my mother and grandmother had other engagements to balance. After about 15 minutes of discussing these logistics, we decided to revisit the conversation later to come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, a final decision was never come to because my great-grandfather died that night; surrounded by his child, grandchildren, and wife.

As a consumer, taking on logistics and costs is a difficult thing to do. Costs are high and emotions are strong. The stress of losing a loved one is high, and adding the subject of money onto that stress can be difficult for pretty much anyone. As consumers, it is important to know your options and rights, in order to navigate the decisions the way that serves you and your family best. My uncle did the research on what our options were, and he relayed them to the family. If you are a consumer that is considering starting a conversation about this, I would advise doing your research first. Being clear on all of the relevant information can make this difficult conversations less difficult.

A good place to start would be this website, that outlines the rights of the dead and dying.

Honoring Choices Challenge

I have been extremely fortunate thus far in my life that I have not had to experience the loss of a close loved one, touch wood. While I have watched those close to me experience loss, I myself have not had to go through grief; other than a couple of family pets. I have always understood mortality and though it can be hard to come to terms with, it is simply a fact of life. I have always considered my own wishes when it comes to death and the traditions that come along with it, however it has always been very hard for me to accept the fact that the ones I love will have their time as well. I decided to discuss this with my boyfriend because I feel that if we are choosing to spend our lives together, I should know his own wishes.

I have a tendency to be blunt so he was quite taken aback when I asked him “What do you want to happen after you die?” over breakfast Thursday morning. The mere thought of going to his funeral was almost too much to bare when he surprised me with his answer. He is an avid hunter/fisher/outdoors-man who was born and raised in the Ellensburg area, and there is a specific spot in this hills that he holds very dear. He informed me that he had read about something called “bio-urns” that essentially are plant seeds and soil mixed in with one’s ashes that  are planted into the ground;  he wants to become a part of his “hunting hole” as he calls it.

While the initial thought of this conversation brought me sadness and anxiety, he explained his wishes so peacefully and so matter-of-fact that it brought me some peace as well. Had something happened to him, I never would’ve known about his choices and how to honor them had I not started this conversation. We hold a large amount of respect for the one’s we love, so why wouldn’t we respect their choices in death as well? Neither of us had ever even considered making a will or filling out an advance directive, probably due to our young age, but when we both got to talking about our wishes we realized how important those things are. While death is a hard topic for most people, it is inevitable, but we can make things much easier on our loved ones when we have our choices already laid out for them.

Challenge: Honoring Choices

In reading the FAQ page of the Honoring Choices website I spoke with my significant other about what my options are hypothetically if something were to happen. I currently work in law enforcement and prior I worked with the Department of Corrections.  During my time at the Washington State Department of Corrections I was involved in multiple riots where many inmates suffered life threating injuries. In this case It was not a simple conversation to have with your significant other if something were to happen. I simply asked what do you think would be the best option if something happened to me while in the line of duty and I was left in critical condition and unresponsive? It was a weird question to bring up briefly. We spoke about my life insurance, the Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment, a durable power of attorney, and a living will. Before reading this article I did not really think about what could happen or how could I take care of my loved ones once I’m gone. Many of these issues are brought up because being in the line of work that I’m in I want was is best for my community as well as what is best for my family. In my own opinion this challenge post was really informative and provided information that I had not taken into consideration.

Challenge: Honoring Choices

On 4th of July week, my family lost a very close friend at a young age. She got an infection that started in her feet and went all the way to her lungs killing her. This death actually got us talking about what we wanted to do if one of us were in a state where we were severely ill and we wouldn’t make it. My parents both said that if there was nothing for the doctors to do they would want to be discharged and be at home surrounded by loved ones. They do not want to get us into debt and they don’t want to be taking medication causing them so many sides effects that wouldn’t even help them at the end. I wasn’t so comfortable talking about this topic because it got me thinking about the future. But talking about this will prepare me and also the consumer about to do in the future and be ready for what might occur.

An Avoidable Topic: Death

As we finish week four, I am sorry to hear that our professor had to attend a memorial recently. See, I work at a restaurant, so I am always asking how people are doing. The responses are generally the generic, “I am good, how are you?” But this one Friday, I was caught off guard.

I do my usual host/bussing duties of greeting a couple and bring water to their table. As I poor the water into clear,clean glasses, I ask “How are we doing today?” And to my surprise, the lady responds “Well we just got back from a memorial, so not sure how to answer.” I was taken a back, which led to an awkward moment. I say, I am so sorry for asking and apologizing. The mood of that conversation changed and I left with an unsatisfactory feeling.

There was nothing I could do to change that moment, because eventually like all things, nothing lasts forever. There was nothing I could say or do to help that couple out. I myself, have experienced death when my grandpa died 4 years ago. Nothing anyone said mattered. I finally understood why death is hard, because nothing anyone says, you take in.

Yea he is in a better place. Yes, he was a good man. Yes, he will be missed. But nothing changes the fact that they are gone. Period.

So how to you bring up the topic? You don’t in my opinion. Be there for that person and feel their presence. Let them know you are there, because often speak louder with our actions than words. If they bring it up to you, elaborate, but if they appear distant, then just be there for support.

We are all consumers of death, whether it be our favorite pet or a loved one. It is an inevitable consumption. That doesn’t mean we cant help others by being there for them. There are different ways we all consume death, by what we do and use our bodies. How we take care of them and eventually how we take care of the world as well. It will come eventually, but we can take steps to prevent a sudden shock of a loved one passing.