7 Ways to Improve Your Life by Preparing for a Good Death

7 Ways to Improve Your Life by Preparing for a Good Death

Let’s begin this post with an important question—one that you’ve probably never been asked, yet it is a question which will eventually impact you and your family. If you are like most people, you might try to avoid answering this question. But if you have the courage to answer it earlier in life, you will be blessed with insight that can profoundly shape and even improve your life.

 

Live with greater intention. Be ready to die with peace.

Here’s that life-changing question:

What are your goals for your death?

Read that again. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable question.

I know that I will have a good death. I don’t know when. And I don’t know exactly how. But this I know: I will be ready, and my family will be ready because we have a plan.

I have several goals for my end-of-life journey, including:

  • Experiencing a peaceful transition from this world,
  • Dying at home if at all possible, but I acknowledge a care facility might be required, and that is okay,
  • Ensuring that my family experiences peace and unity regarding care decisions made on my behalf,
  • Experiencing limited or no suffering; my symptoms and pain will be effectively managed,
  • Teaching my children how to have a good death,
  • Leaving no messes behind, making sure that my affairs are in order.

Achieving these goals requires a plan—and my family has a plan.

Do you have a plan, and have you considered any goals for your death?

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Live each day as if it were your last.” If I knew that today truly was my last day, I wouldn’t be on a plane heading to North Carolina as I write this post. I would be home with my family.

Nonetheless, I live ready. I know my loved ones will honor my end-of-life goals. We have discussed my wishes in detail, and everything is clearly expressed in writing. I know they will advocate passionately for my comfort. I know they will support me emotionally and spiritually through the journey.

Here’s a secret probably no one has ever told you, except you’d know…if you’ve been reading my blog for a while.

Proactively planning for future care decisions yields unexpected rewards.

Confronting your mortality is empowering. It creates focus. By preparing for future care choices and shaping goals for your death, you can improve your life by experiencing:

  1. Peace of mind. You will feel less concerned or anxious about your death, whenever and however it unfolds. Having a plan will give you peace of mind.
  2. Deep satisfaction. You will know you have prepared your healthcare agents and family to make decisions on your behalf, if required. You will know you owned this responsibility.
  3. Improved health. By confronting your mortality, you might just be inspired to make healthier choices. I’ve become far more serious about my health. I’m exercising regularly and I’ve significantly changed my eating habits. I want to be healthy for as long as I can. You might discover this same motivation.
  4. Healed relationships. Why wait for your deathbed to reconcile a hurting relationship? In daily living, you might resolve to offer forgiveness and seek forgiveness quickly when a relationship is strained. One of the saddest statements I hear is, “I thought we’d have more time.” Be courageous. You can extend the olive branch before it’s too late.
  5. Shared love. Frequently sharing words and acts of love with your friends and family reminds them that they are cherished. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman has opened my eyes to my husband’s expression of love through his completion of household projects. Every time I look at our newly painted kitchen (which included wallpaper stripping and wall repair), I know I am loved!
  6. Deeper faith. One of the most common desires at the end of life is being at peace with God. Exploring and embracing your spirituality can foster rich rewards throughout your life and prepare you for a peaceful passing.
  7. Greater contentment. Seeing life through a lens of gratitude fosters deep contentment. Focusing on your blessings creates perspective. Gratitude is like breathing crisp mountain air; it fills you up, cleans out what is stale, refreshes your spirit, and renews your energy.

My affairs are in order. Whenever it happens, I’ll be ready. Most importantly, I know my husband and my sons are equipped to honor my wishes with confidence and peace of mind.

So what will your end-of-life journey be? Does anyone know—really know—the goals for your death?

I invite you to face your mortality and prepare for a graceful journey. You will have less regret. You will be inspired to live with greater intention, and you will be ready to die with peace.

QUESTION: What is one small step you can take this week or month that will help you to prepare for a good death? Will you please join the conversation by sharing this post via social media with your comment using #gooddeath?

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