Please Bless My Homegoing
Chaplain Leigh Ann Min
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
"If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s." (Romans 14:8 NRSV)
Serving as hospital chaplain can put me in the midst of a life and death crisis in a moment’s notice. In cases when death comes, I have witnessed the full range of emotions from deep sorrow to great joy. Joy usually comes when family members are able to say they have honored their loved ones wishes and have known their loved ones values, beliefs and faith. Serving in this context has led me to confront my own morality and to make decisions about how I want to be treated should I come to a point that I cannot speak for myself. I did this by completing an advanced directive (living will). I invite every person to complete an advanced directive because of the anxieties that can be relieved.
Completing an advanced directive relieves the anxiety of confusion, the confusion of any guesswork as to what your dying preferences are. Family members and healthcare providers will know what you want in the event you can’t speak for yourself because it is stated in writing. Have conversations with family members as you complete the form and provide copies for each of them. There is also space on the form to provide additional information to clarify any questions that may have come up in conversation. Complete the form while your health is good, update it regularly, and inform your family of any changes. Give a gift to your family by eliminating the guesswork and relieving the confusion which often comes with important decisions.
Completing an advanced directive relieves the anxiety of conflict, the conflict others may experience when there is disagreement about what others “think” you want. Or perhaps someone remembers when you expressed one thing, and someone else remembers it differently. If there are assets involved, this could magnify the conflict without your input. Give the gift of helping to eliminate conflict by completing and sharing copies of your advanced directive with your family.
Completing an advanced directive is also an opportunity to express our Christian faith and help family members experience some relief of anxiety when difficult times come. More often than once, I have been with families in the hospital who were worried about the status of their loved one’s faith. Here is an opportunity to make your beliefs clear. If your faith empowers you to live a better life, empower others by telling your story of faith, hope and love in person and as a part of your will. Tell them what you value and the source of your trust so that they can bless your homegoing with less anxiety.
Complete an advanced directive form now for your benefit and the benefit of those you love. Relieve the anxieties of confusion and conflict and empower them with your story of faith. I will confess, I found this task difficult to complete. But, now that it is done, I have a sense of peace that I have given my family an important gift. I hope you will face this task sooner rather than later. Let your faith and trust in God help you. And may the grace, mercy and peace of God accompany you on your journey always, in this life and the next. Amen.