Death. It is going to happen to all of us. It’s a natural part of life. But we avoid talking about it more than anything else. Dealing with a death of a loved one would go a lot smoother if we knew what their final wishes were, right? Do you know what your partner would like to have happened when they die? Do you know what you’d like?

Talking about the final journey is a difficult discussion but one that should be done whenever two or more people are in a serious relationship. There are quite a few considerations to be made nowadays surrounding a person’s end. Let’s plan to have that uncomfortable talk soon. Here’s what you should keep in mind and try to develop a plan for your own demise.

Advance Care

This is a general term for the documents and preparedness of long-term or sudden hospitalization for the end of life circumstances.

Living Wills

A Living Will allows you to put into writing your wishes about medical treatments for the end of your life in the event you can not communicate them directly. It can be called different things depending on where your life, but they are all medical directives and its purpose is to guide the physicians and family members in deciding medical treatments at the end of your life.

In the US you have a legal right to refuse medical treatments. However, your state law may define when the living will go into effect and may limit the treatments to which the living will apply. You should read your state’s document carefully to ensure that it reflects your wishes.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a person you appoint to speak for your health care when you can not speak yourself. They are authorized by you to deal with all medical situations pertaining to your end of life treatments. You should pick something that you are close with and trust (they do not have to be a family member) to make sure your wishes are honored.

Should you have both? Yes, as it will provide you with the best insurance that your wishes will be carried out. It is a gift to your loved ones who are faced with making these decisions that they know what you would want.

Life-Sustaining Treatments

Life-sustaining treatments are medical procedures that replace or support a failing essential bodily function (one that is necessary to keep you alive). They are also sometimes called life support or life-prolonging treatments.

Make sure that in your living will that you itemize the life support treatments you do and don’t wish to have. Treatments like ventilation and respiratory support are well known, but what about intravenous or direct feeding and hydration, or intubation?

Do you want CPR if your heart stops? A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order is commonplace and you often have to declare your wishes with every hospitalization. Remember to consider these situations as some people want everything done to prolong their life and others don’t want that.

CaringInfo.org

provides advance care information and directives for every state in the US.

Death

As I've said before, death is a natural part of life. How the living deal with death is another matter. We learned in the previous post that it is important to have your wishes expressed and honored to ease the decision-making process left by those you leave behind.

Having a discussion about what to do before the end is necessary and helpful for your partner and your family. You can even do a lot to already have plans in places such as casket choice, cemetery, funeral home, and so-forth. It’s possible to have all of that already in place and paid for before your demise.

The Body

The first thing that your loved ones will have to deal with is depending on how you died and the condition of your body you may be able to donate organs, eyes, and tissues for life-saving procedures for others. Having organ donor checked on your driver’s license is a start, but you should register to be an organ donor on your state’s donor registry. You can find out how to be a donor at Organ Donor.gov.

Embalming is a common practice for funerals as it helps preserve the body for funerals that don’t happen right away. But did you know that it’s completely optional? So is the open casket, final makeup, and other body preparations. Ask the funeral home how you can make sure your wishes are honored in these cases.

Funeral

A funeral is for the living. While I respect that the dying may ask for specific songs or officiants, it is my personal belief that the living should celebrate your life in whatever way helps them. After all, you won’t be there.

There are those, though that want a hand in all arrangements pertaining to their funeral and burial and that’s where communicating with the funeral home while you are still alive will go a long way. You don’t want to burden your grieving loved ones with details that you can do through a document or with direct communication with the facility.

Wills and Power of Attorney for Financial Matters

A Will is a legal document in which a person provides instruction on how their assets are to be distributed and who will become caregivers for any minors. A will is your final wishes. If you die without a will you die “intestate” and your assets are distributed according to your provincial or state laws, which may not always be what you wanted, therefore it is vital to have an update will.

Power of Attorney basically gives someone else the right to act on your behalf.

Because a will is a legal document is should be filed with an attorney or in the least it should be signed by you and 2 witnesses and then notarized.  You -- the "testator" if you are a man, or "testatrix" if you are a woman -- are the main player in writing your will. You must be of sound mind and of majority age in your state. You must declare it to be your "last will and testament." It must be in writing and signed by you, and two witnesses. It should be revised when you have a change in your family situation like a birth or a divorce, or when there is a change in the tax law.

It is essential to name a personal representative, who is known as an "executor" or "executrix."

Aftermath

In a D/s relationship it is not uncommon for the Dominant to establish what the submissive is to do after he dies, if he dies first. This can be from where they are to live, to who will control them while they grieve. It’s important to know for submissives because returning to independence after a duration of dependence and control under someone else can leave them feeling helpless and uncertain how to continue.

These talks are not meant to be easy, but hopefully you have to tools now to at least start talking about what each other’s wishes are if the end were to come too soon.

Questions

  1. Do you know your Dominant's final wishes? What are your final wishes?
  2. What documents do you have prepared for your demise?
  3. Why is it so hard to talk about death with your loved ones?

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