What Do You Want To Ensure?
(Thinking about what you want to happen if the chips are down.)
Something happens – say, a war breaks out, or there’s an epidemic. Whatever the specifics, you are in some way under threat. What do you want to make sure is in place, in case you die?
Of course what you focus on will be a personal thing – depending on your personal circumstances. But there will be a lot of commonality between all of us.
And yes, trying to ‘put things in order’ is challenging. So let’s call the practical things – wills, expressions of wishes, finances and whatever else – a different topic. But what else should you think about – think about while you can?
For me, ‘making the obvious explicit’ is top of my list. I’m lucky to have a partner, someone I love and have loved for decades. But it is a mistake to assume your love for someone is understood – really, properly understood. Taking things for granted can be a terrible error. And so I think my first priority is to make sure I have made my unquestioning love for and trust in my partner clear. And if in doing so I’m just making the obvious explicit? So what? No harm’s done.
If my death should be looming, I’m not sure what I’m worried about beyond the obvious: avoiding pain and so on. (Surely, we’d all like a quiet, untroubled death.) Beyond that kind of consideration, I think my main concern is making as sure as I can that my partner will carry on enjoying the pleasures of life, albeit without me. I don’t think that’s in any way praiseworthy. It’s selfish: it’s what I need for my own peace of mind.
And if my potential death is accompanied by the possibility of a curtailed life, then I know I’m not focused on staying alive regardless. I don’t want to be kept alive but with a poor quality of life, nor do I want to be a burden.
I think a good future quality of life involves all the things that are important now: love, caring, laughter. Being able to simply appreciate the beauty that’s out there – in all senses of the word beauty. I wouldn’t want to live without being able to enjoy all the essentially mental aspects to life while my physical existence carries on. As someone who has had major brain damage (and surgery), I’m all too aware that brain is more important than the body.
I can say and think all those things about me, for me. And I know the hard stuff comes with ensuring what actually happens matches what I’ve said, what I want.
And the hard part for you is going through the same process as I’ve attempted, as I’ve tried to explain above.