Two weeks ago, my Grandma Grace and I sat together and discussed life, and how much we meant to each other. She also shared with me —as she had done with her children and other grandchildren —her wishes surrounding the end of her life. There is, perhaps, no greater conversation one can have in life than to tell someone you love how much they mean to you. And there is no greater honor than helping someone honor their wishes.
Engaged, with Grace.
In recent years, it has become tradition in some internet circles for bloggers to post about the One Slide Project on Thanksgiving. The One Slide Project is also know as Engage With Grace.
Its aim is simple, provide a very simple tool for families to discuss end of life wishes. And, taboo as it may sound, what better day to have the discussion than Thanksgiving when we are together with the ones we love.
Yesterday, my grandmother, Grace, passed away peacefully at home. In the weeks before her death, she spoke clearly and openly to each of us about her wishes. She wanted to be at home, with as little intervention as possible. There was no ambiguity about her choices.
While we’re all very sad, and will continue to be so for some time, there is a comfort in knowing we honored her wishes. Knowing her wishes gave us a collective shared purpose in how we cared for her and in how we remember her now. She was also clear about who should make decisions on her behalf and how those decisions should be made. Her doctors supported her choices.
She passed at home, in her bed, surrounded by people who loved her very much. She was comfortable and her dignity was never compromised. Her passing was the definition of a good death, very befitting a woman who lived her life so intentionally and with so much purpose.
Today, as you gather with your family, friends and loved ones, my wish is for you to have the conversation. Tell each other how much you mean to one another. Talk about your favorite memories of one another. And ask each other, when the time comes, how you would like to be cared for at the end of your life.
I promise you will never regret having that conversation.