End-of-life issues worth discussing in here and now

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

Every Monday at 6 p.m. is Family Dinner at my house.

My children and their spouses take turns choosing what I cook, which means the menu is vastly different each week. So is the conversation.

The only consistent thing I hear is my daughter Monique saying, “My kids aren’t this loud or active at home. Only here.”

My son Geoffrey has suggested we move Family Dinner to Monique’s house, but she hasn’t offered yet.

I can usually flow with any topic of conversation, but I wasn’t prepared for my daughter Elise’s first words when she walked into my kitchen a few weeks ago.

“Tonight we’re all deciding our power of attorney,” she said. “And we all need living wills.”

“Can I just take the lasagna out of the oven?” I said. “Let’s not talk about this now.”

“There’s never a good time to bring up the subject so let’s just get it out of the way,” she said. “In a medical emergency, do you want extreme measures taken? Do you want to be resuscitated? Do you want a feeding tube?”

“Well, I certainly don’t want to be hungry,” I said. “So yes to a feeding tube. Lasagna’s ready.”

“Geoffrey,” Elise said. “You can be my power of attorney.”

“Shouldn’t that be your husband?” Geoffrey said.

“Oh, no,” Elise said. “He’s too sensitive. He’ll never let me go.”

“Nobody pick me,” my daughter Lauren said. “I’ll keep y’all alive forever.”

“Geoffrey, you’re going to be busy,” I said, after everyone selected him.

“Not at all,” he said. “I’ll make the decisions very quickly.”

And we laughed, ate, dodged the granddaughters as they ran screaming through the kitchen and forgot about our earlier conversation.

But Elise is right. We don’t mind talking about the details of our lives, and we anticipate the Heavenly home that God has prepared, yet speaking about end-of-life issues makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

Me included.

My driver’s license has made it clear that once I’m gone, my usable organs should go to someone in need.

But I do need to make my wishes clear regarding medical directives, and although this didn’t come up that night at Family Dinner, I need to make a will.

Mine will be short. It will simply read, “Sorry, but while I was alive, I spent as I went.”

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.