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A Holiday Gift to Remember


What’s the best gift you ever received? For me, it was a gift I never asked for or put on a list. Instead, someone listened to me talk about what I love and long for in life and surprised me with a gift that made me feel listened to and understood. It was a gift I didn’t know I even wanted.

It’s possible to give a gift this season that would cost nothing and would foster deeper understanding between the people you love. This is the gift of compassionate conversation about the things that matter most in life.

Topics like Advanced Directives, Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA), and Living Will tend to upset people. It’s difficult to see the relevance of talking about death when you are healthy and enjoying life now. However, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

We all have ideas about how we want to live our life, and values that guide the decisions we make. If we suddenly were unable to communicate, could we say with certainty that the people we love most could make decisions regarding our care in a manner consistent with these values? Unfortunately, only 30% of people have had this conversation with their loved ones.

Guessing about matters of life and death without knowing what your loved one wants is stressful. Having specific documents completed, like a Healthcare POA and Living Will, can be extremely helpful to the loved ones tasked with making these decisions. Even more helpful is reflecting on our core values and what it looks like to live a full life with these same loved ones. Others are then able to make informed decisions on our behalf without fear or regret of having failed to honor the legacy we wanted.

Starting this conversation can be difficult and awkward at times. It helps to think about the people and things that matter most, and about activities that bring your life meaning. These values should be at the center of directing the decisions you want made about your healthcare. If you would like to add this gift to your list this year, the Outreach division at Cannon Health can help you get started 704-886-0840. A Holiday Gift to Remember