A Perfect Quote

I know there are pros and cons regarding life insurance, but I read a headline that just has to be quoted. As you read the headline, also think about life in general and ways you wish you could turn the clock back.

“Husbands seldom believe in life insurance but widows always do”



This post is from the National POLST website and truly gets a conversation started!

Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment 

“The National POLST Paradigm is an approach to end-of-life planning based on conversations between patients, loved ones, and health care professionals designed to ensure that seriously ill or frail patients can choose the treatments they want or do not want and that their wishes are documented and honored.”



An Active Participant

To be an active participant in our healthcare process (especially as we near end of life,) we are required to give our point of view. We have to say what is on our mind, communicate our perspective with words, give our opinion and have thought about some things beforehand.

If you decline being an active participant or don’t think it necessary, your health (or lack thereof) will make the decision for you. Is that what you want?






10 Minutes of Sweating

Gay Hendricks has a great quote in his book “The Big Leap,” “Behind every communication problem is a sweaty ten-minute conversation you don’t want to have.” Can anyone relate to those ten-minutes?

But wait a minute, (then you will only have nine-minutes of sweating left) let’s add two components to a tough conversation… courage and limited opportunity. Courage has to do with persevering through a difficulty and limited opportunity is just that…there is an end coming and a nearing point in time when the chance to talk is over.

10 minutes in a difficult discussion could turn in to a life time of resolve and relief…


Something to Tell You

Let’s just say…your loved one tells you, “I need to tell you something.  Can you come over?”  Right smack in the middle of that comment you hear their tone. Clearly their voice sounds like the news isn’t good.

Honoring their request to “come over” is really at the base of life.  Getting there, to the side of a person who has something to tell you, even though it may rock your world and change the course of your life forever.

But, what if that change allows you to see life with a refreshed sense of intimacy.  What if someone’s news causes you to experience compassion and a awareness to life, that not even their death can erase?

Their choice to invite you in to their news, their burden, their reality is actually an honorable position for any of us to be in the midst of.



In the Moment

One tear after another…

One sentence at a time…

Don’t minimize what listening will do…

Sometimes silence says a lot




Silence can either be a threatening sound or an absolutely peaceful time in life.  Our response has to do with the state of mind we are in or the circumstance of the silence.

When silence is a response during end of life conversations, people may literally be finding their thoughts…for the very first time.  Not many of us go through end of life situations on a regular basis.  Pausing or not commenting may just be due to the uniqueness and or newness of the issues.   Add on the shocking reality of “end of life” topics and you really have a complex discussion going on.

I know there are commercials talking about the awkwardness of silence, I can agree.  Yet, silence can also be a gift.  If there is time to ponder, think through, figure what thoughts and options are important to you (personally and for your family)…waiting to speak may be a profoundly precious time between you and your head.

How many can relate to a moment in time when you are “just there” with someone, no words, just side by side.  I will venture to believe that experience was impactful and important.

Peace to necessary times of silence…


Regrets Can Motivate

Sometimes negative/harmful experiences in life can be beautiful motivations.  What if you have one more opportunity to acknowledge a regret?  What if there is a way to move around or past a prior bridge that has been burned through a regretful moment in time?

Even though this may be an amazingly humble invitation for any of us to apologize for a problem we contributed to, this effort may be a turning point in comfort.  Comfort for you and comfort for someone who is nearing the end of their life.

I am hoping a conversation like this isn’t about explaining all the ins and out of a regret…but one simply acknowledging the impact of the regret.  There was a point in time when these relationships were close, close enough to hurt each other and now hopefully close enough to bring back comfort.  Maybe even a bit of peace.


Talking about Your Role

Each one of us carry titles or roles in relationships.  Such as grandchild, sibling, parent, friend, neighbor…the list can go on and on.  These roles or positions in relationships also provide an amazing connection to help get the conversation started.

Just imagine if you said something like this, “I want to tell you what it means to me to be your ________ (you fill in the blank.)  Whether that description is verbal, written or even a video on a smart phone, you can get a conversation started by telling another person how they have influence your life.

Encouragement and acknowledgement take you to places in a relationship that stick for a lifetime.  Maybe this is a time of honoring that person, maybe it is a time of giving them credit…maybe this is simply saying thank you for helping me along in life.


Not Ready to Talk

When we need to look in to the face of someone who has a health crisis, a terminal illness that is causing debilitations…we must approach that conversation knowing some people (including ourselves) may not be ready or willing to talk.

So how do we start the conversation with those that are not ready to talk?  Perhaps you can say something like “I know you don’t want to talk, but I want to hear what matters to you…I don’t want to miss the opportunity…what if we don’t get the chance to hear what you want to say…while we have a choice in the matter, can we at least start the conversation…”

A lot of times necessity presses the conversation.  Circumstance of the disease and making treatment decisions may force us to talk. If someone stays in the mode of not talking,” that may be the reality and we have to surrender to that reality.  Sad?  Regretful?  Frustrating?  Yes, but it also is more common than you may think.

That is when I say, words are not everything.  Look for other ways to communicate and stand by this person whether they verbalize or with hold their words.




© 2014. Copyright Jackie J Bates. Designed by Artillery Media