Do you have a living will?

  1. I know many of you on this forum are young and may have never thought about your own demise. But, since Terri Schiavo's plight, I have given it more thought. I sent an e mail to all of my family tonight with my wishes in writing. It may not be legal but at least they all will be clear on my wishes. This is what I said in my letter. You may want to do something similar with your family so there will be no questions.

    Dear Family,

    I have been following the Terri Schiavo case on the
    right to live or die.

    I just wanted to put into writing, obviously not
    legally, but to my family, that if the time comes that
    I am in that situation, would someone please have the
    decency, common sense and love to put a pillow over my
    head, a bullet thru my skull, or give me a healthy
    overdose of a narcotic!

    If I am in an accident, have a big stroke, etc. let
    the medical folks give it their best shot, try
    therapy, etc. but if it becomes clear that the best I
    can hope for is a nursing home where I drool on myself
    and poop in my diaper, please, for God's sake, put me
    out of my misery.

    We had to put a wonderful dog to sleep just before
    Christmas and it was one of the hardest things I have
    ever had to do, it still brings tears to my eyes when
    I think of it. But I know it was the only humane thing
    to do and because I loved him and did not want him to
    suffer, we made the decision to do it. It was peaceful
    and mercifully quick. Ken and I were holding him,
    stroking his fur and telling him how much we loved him
    as he went to a better place. I hope someone can have
    the courage to do the same for me if the time ever
    comes when I can't make the decision my self.

    I am completely comfortable with my salvation and my
    place in the here after. I love life on this earth and
    I look forward to watching my grandchildren grow up
    and my children grow old, but I am not afraid of
    death. I am however afraid of what they can do to you
    in the dying process.

    I hope and pray that none of us ever have to make such
    a painful decision, but think about it now while you
    are healthy, and let those who love you know how you
    feel. Don't make any of us get dragged thru the courts
    like poor Terri is.

    Copy this e mail and save it if you need to. I will
    make a living will as soon as I can, but this is just
    a casual heads up on my thoughts.

    Love, your wife, your mother, your sister and your
    daughter, Barbara
  2. Visit Dixielee profile page

    About Dixielee

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 1,256; Likes: 1,566
    R.N. ER; from US
    Specialty: 38 year(s) of experience in ER


  3. by   traumaRUs
    Thanks for the wonderful words Barb. I am 46 and very healthy - however, who knows what time will bring to us? I too would not want to live in a nursing home being cared for by everyone.
  4. by   Blackcat99
    You are so right dixielee. I have an "official legal living will" and let me tell you I am sleeping better at night now because of it. I am so glad to hear that you are going to get a legal living will soon. My advice to everyone is "Don't wait, don't gamble with your life. Get a legal living will while you still can. Tomorrow might be too late. Do it today and sleep better tonight.
  5. by   dphrn
    A living will is a must now a days. Please don't suggest that your family put "a pillow over your head or a bullet through your skull". Along with the responsibility of feeling they have to be the one to physically kill you, they will then face murder charges.

    Put me out of my misery legally...using my living will. Thanks.
  6. by   Ted
    This is an important subject for all of us.

    I am embarrassed to say that neither Amy (my loving wife) or I have a regular Will made out, much less a Living Will. Both Amy and I have to get on the ball with this. :imbar

  7. by   Dixielee
    DPHRN, I was saying those things to emphasize a point, No, I certainly would not want my family to have to face murder charges! But, I did not want there to be any doubt as to my wishes either.
  8. by   CHATSDALE

    i would not want to be kept alive when there was no reatlistic chance of a recovery to enjoy life...i do not have a living will but i am going to get one..since this t shaviao thing i have thought about it a lot
    i don't want to have my children to make painful decision that they might later feel quilty about...this is a decision that each of us should stand up and make for ourself
    i wonder if a living will you pull off the net would be legal is you filled it out and signed it???
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    living wills a new survey by findlaw finds that only 33% of americans have a living will. sixty-seven percent of americans lack a living will, potentially leaving them with no say over whether they wish to receive life-sustaining medical treatment in the event they should become incapacitated or terminally ill.

    you're never too young to have a will

    what is a living will:

    talking about your choices. a living will provides specific instructions. a medical power of attorney names a person that you trust to make decisions on your behalf.

    state specific living will and medical power of attorney documents available for download:

    check out aging with dignity's "five wishes"
    this document goes beyond a living will and advance directives to include emotional and spiritual care too.

    aarp's end of life information:

    bill moyer's pbs "own our own terms"

    your aging parents: what you need to know in case mom or dad has a medical emergency

    resources for end of life caregivers:
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 21, '05
  10. by   Dixielee
    Great resources Karen, thanks!

    Edited to add: I loved the link on Five Wishes. That is a living will that is easy to read and understand and gives explicit information that I might not have thought of adding. I am going to order the family pack and send one to members of my family as well.
    Last edit by Dixielee on Mar 21, '05
  11. by   Plagueis
    I'll admit that I don't have a living will. I guess like many people, I don't like to think about my own death, since I'm still in my 30s. However, I realize that an accident similar to Schiavo's could happen at any time, and that I should be prepared so that my loved ones know my wishes.
  12. by   Still Riding
    I told my mother some of what I wanted, I'm only 20 and I think I told her when I was 18 shortly after my birthday.

    I told her that if i couldn't live life with pazzaz and and with some personal dignity I don't want to be alive. And that if I to pass away that I will be ok with that because I have lived an amazing life so far, and yes it would be a shame to end it early but that is how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

    I also told her that I don't want to be n a coffin in the ground that i would like to be burnt to a crisp. and not it one of those creepy shrines in the funeral homes. So sprinkle me somewhere good.

    I don't have any dependants that are human, But i do own a horse That I have had since I was 14 and paid for all his needs since then myself, and did all the training on. I said that if i ever died that she would never be aloud to sell him or give him away. I understood that she wasn't into horses, But that she would have to find someone to exersice him (one of my friends would do it).

    I don't think she was comfortable with the conversation but we had it and I think she ended up crying at the end. more should have been said, but i think for an 18yo that was a good start.
  13. by   Quickbeam
    I absolutely have a living will. I watched my stepmother make cruel decisions with my brain dead father in order to keep him alive long enough for a specific legal deadline entitling her to more money. It was horrible.

    What is most important to me is that my husband make the decisions about my health. I don't want my idiot brother or religious fanatic extended family getting their oar in the water. If I didn't trust my husband with my life, I'd have never married him.
  14. by   RN4ustat
    I was discussing this with my son today. He is only 16 but is very intelligent and reasonable. I was expressing that I would never want to live in a chronic vegetative state and was rather surprised by his reply. He said "I know it sounds kinda morbid but I'd rather have a dead mother than a vegetable mother. I know you wouldn't want to live like that and I wouldn't want to see you like that. I'd rather know you were resting in peace than drooling and having to have your diaper changed". Although it does sound a little sick, I was impressed that he understands dignity and quality of life at his age. Pretty impressive for a teenager.