Death and taxes. That’s the saying isn’t it? That there’s nothing certain but those two things. Yet, with all the certainty that surrounds death and taxes, there’s also a lot of lack of preparation for both, arguably more for the former. But death is a fact of life and despite human effort to avert death, to thwart it, even stave it off, the inevitable is going to happen. The only mitigation that can take place is potentially managing the circumstance and situation of death – and the best way of doing that is for personal and individualized directives to be to be known, and subsequently, executed.
A living will is something that every individual, any person, should seriously consider creating. A living will is a directive, a legal document that details and states a person’s wishes and desires if the unfortunate event occurs that causes the individual to be incapacitated by a physical injury or illness, even mental illness. If this was to happen, then based on the individual’s written out requests, the living will, that specific action plan would be carried out. The benefits and purpose of such a plan begins with the person when they decide to control the uncontrollable, which is death. Granted, no one is stopping death from happening, but by creating a living will, the person is at least grasping on to the thin veil of circumstance to determine ‘the how’ of their life and quite possibly the when of their death.
There is already so much that is out of humanity’s control but a living will helps the individual to manage better, their own lives and end of lives, but also ultimately, providing their love one with less burden in decision-making when the time and moments are too stressful or too much to bear. Solace is priceless, and so for family members and friends to be privy to what is desired for another at the end of life, this should be regarded as the penultimate in forward thinking, an avenue of surety and certainty that will erase the congregate indecision and possible guest work that could come with burdening others to make a decision that should not be theirs to make.
The end is coming. That’s a fact. It comes from the moment breath is drawn and then exhaled and then drawn again. In between that time, a life is lived and everything from personal choice to personal gain – finances, houses, cars, clothing, and anything of material existence – is left swinging in the air of uncertainty. The purpose and meaning of a living will is to rule out that uncertainty, to mitigate, mediate, and manage the most predictable of all human experiences, the one life event, death, that can often leave families and friends in disarray. A living will may be a part of the ending of life, but it is also can be the bridge that will more than help life to carry on.