I SAW MY MOTHER walking through the neighborhood the other day. She was wearing this big floppy hat hiding her face from the sun. But I knew it was her because I can tell by the way she walked. I see her from afar quite often. She drove by me just yesterday when I was coming out of the grocery store. I wonder why she didn’t wave to me. I knew she saw me.
My mother passed away about two years ago. I often see people who remind me of my mother. I think about her a lot. I remember when she was in the emergency room after suffering a heart attack. The doctor asked her, “If your heart flatlines, do you want me to try to revive you?” My mother said, “Yes, do whatever necessary. I want to live.”
My mother would often say to me, “If I had something seriously wrong with me, they wouldn’t operate because I’m too old. They would just let me die.” The upshot: My mother had an advance health care directive stating her wishes for medical treatment in case she was unable to communicate those wishes. She wanted doctors to take all reasonable steps to keep her alive. With power of attorney over my mother’s health care, I made sure the hospital and rehabilitation facility knew of her wishes.
When I think about my mother’s desires and her fears about life and death, I realize how important it to have in place not only estate planning decisions, but also end-of-life decisions.