I was staying at Sakya Kachod Choling, the Buddhist Center on Mt Dallas, when I learned that my friend Ben’s cancer had spread into parts of his body that changed his situation from fighting for his life to acceptance of his death. A Buddhist Center is a good place to be at a time like that. It is a quiet beautiful place to contemplate impermanence.
Ben liked to brag toward the end of his life that he had seven women cooking for him. I was happy to be one of them. What he gave me was a valuable lesson. I was witness to a dignified and graceful death. I think of Ben when I contemplate how I would like to die.
It was a few years later that I again took some quiet time at the Buddhist Center to fill out my own Five Wishes, a legal document that 1) Names the person I want to make healthcare decisions for me when I can’t make them for myself. 2) The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want. 3) How comfortable I want to be. 4) How I want people to treat me. 5) What I want my loved ones to know.
We postpone these tasks because they describe a day we hope will never come and yet it is reassuring to have my wishes in writing rather than one day only wishing I had done it. If you are ready to do yourself and your loved ones a favor by putting your wishes down on paper, the Mullis Center is sponsoring an Advanced Care Planning Workshop on Monday, February 25 from 1:00 pm to 2:30.
Find out the difference between a POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), a directive, and a will. Learn what your legal rights are and the significance of a power of attorney. Explore end of life choices and learn about available services. The workshop is free. Call 360.378.2677 to register.