On this Christmas Eve here in New Mexico, families are lining the sidewalks in their neighborhoods with luminarias, simple paper bags with sand in the bottom and one votive candle. It’s a beautiful Christmas tradition, designed to direct the Christ child to the family’s home. You may enjoy this Mortality Minute video I did about this tradition of visiting cemeteries on Christmas Eve:
And while you are gathering with loved ones, here’s a great article about using holiday face time to have a serious discussion about end-of-life issues, BEFORE someone ends up in the emergency room. Here are a few tips from this story, Holiday gatherings are a good time to discuss an uncomfortable subject – end-of-life decisions.
The holiday season is a time for families to gather together, open presents, share meals and … discuss the end of our lives.
Discuss the end of our lives?
If discussing The End seems out of place to you, you may need to rethink your priorities. There is no good time to discuss planning for the end of our lives. As a result, far too many people never discuss the topic with their loved ones.
In fact, a recent study noted that only one-third of U.S. adults have advanced directives for their end-of-life care. This lack of planning means loved ones are often left with no guidance when something goes wrong. Instead of having a plan in place, decision-makers are left to grapple with tough choices at times when they’re already under tremendous stress and emotional fatigue.
- Broach end-of-life issues as something you’re concerned about. Say that you’d like to take just half an hour to talk about these things and learn what everyone’s wishes are. Note that it’s better to talk about it now than in a crisis situation.
- Be intuitive toward the feelings of others and understand that not everyone will be ready or willing to have this conversation.
- When someone states their wishes, repeat them back to make sure you truly understand.