My friend Larisa Gilbert talks about “inconsequential choices” - minor choices we make that have no major bearing on anything in our life. Choices that are not serious or heavy or cause any stress in our lives but are decisions none the same.
One of those decisions for Larisa was choosing to reach out to me, as creator and host of the podcast, to tell me she appreciated my work and the information I was sharing. She thought she would send a direct message to me on social media and go on with her life.
What transpired was I answered her. What is part of doing the work I do is not knowing if my work affects someone. Her note meant the world to me and I told her that. That one simple, inconsequential choice has led to a wonderful friendship, even though we have never been in the same room.
I believe those types of things happen throughout our lives. Larisa was the guest on my podcast this month talking about consequential choices. Everything from naming your power of attorney to planning for the end-of-life care. These are all choices we don’t want to make, so we put them off.
No one wants to discuss what care they desire for the end of their life because they fear it’s bad luck. If they talk about it, it will happen. Or, they don’t wan’t to discuss it. “You’ll figure it out” was always a favorite of my mother’s and I think most people.
The reality is end-of-life care is hard. It’s hard enough when you know what that person wants. But it isn’t a one and done conversation. Your views may, and will, change. As Larisa so eloquently explained, it’s not how you want to die, it’s about how you want to live. Discussing what’s important to you in your life, in living your life, is how you decide.
I know someone who said if they can’t golf, don’t keep him around. Someone else told me if they could still interact with their loved ones but could not get out of bed, that would be okay. But if they couldn’t have a meaningful interaction with them, then no.
The excruciating parts of these decisions is carrying them out. “I know this is what they wanted” doesn’t help when they are lying, helpless, in front of you. BUT it very well may help you. End of life rarely appears like a Hallmark movie, yet that is what everyone has in their minds. We need to have these conversations with our loved ones.
We need to assign powers of attorney to our “trusted helpers” so they can speak for us when we can’t. As much information that we share online and in our doctors offices today, that information will not help if you, or the person who is caring for you, can’t access it.
It’s hard and upsetting to think about these things, but it is vital to our well being. Listening to Larissa speak about it made it less scary for me and I hope for others.