A Gift of a Lifetime

giftsby Mioshei Mobley

The holiday season is here. The smell of desserts baking in the oven fills our homes. The matriarch of the family is planning the holiday feast and sharing family recipes with her helpers (family and friends). She assigns everyone a task with special instructions. She remembers who does not like green peppers in the potato salad and prepares a separate potato salad accordingly. Because the matriarch is the keeper of the family history, she shares the history of the family because she knows that someone must be the keeper of tradition.  The family is unaware that the holidays will no longer be the same.

Six months earlier, she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  She is aware that this is her last holiday with the family. As a mother, her primary instinct to protect her children takes over. The protection from any conversation relating to death and dying becomes the focus. She wants everything to be “normal.” She does not realize the lasting implications her decision to withhold her terminal diagnosis will have on her family.

Eight years ago, this was my story. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and she did not share the news with our family. She shared her special recipes and family traditions. She knew our favorite dessert and knew how to select the perfect gift. But, she did not share this life changing event with our family. She was deprived of the opportunity to express her wishes for end-of-life care. Our family was deprived of the opportunity to ask about her wishes for medical care and end-of-life care.

Some many families can relate to our family’s story. As a community, we have to start new traditions. As we share family recipes and purchase the perfect gift, we must remember that one of most important, inexpensive gifts is an Advance Directive.  An Advance Directive “helps to avoid the often difficult situation when a person becomes ill and loved ones are left to guess what the loved ones’ true wishes are.”

For more information on how Advanced Directives can put you and your family at ease, contact your local Covenant Hospice location. Start a new tradition by beginning the conversation of a lifetime.

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One Response to “A Gift of a Lifetime”

  1. Thank you for your post Mioshei, Amy :o)

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