Last night's session on making advanced directives for your health care was very good. We all learned some things, like Michigan does not recognize living wills. So it is important to designate someone to be your health care advocate in case of an accident or some other event when you cannot make your own decisions about care.
Dan Layman and Lars Egede-Nissen, two of our parishioners, are on staff at Hospice of Lansing and they shared some excellent resources. The American Bar Association has a tool kit for planning on its website. This will take you through all sorts of thought processes that can help you identify who would be the best advocate for you, what your values and needs might be, and how to communicate your decisions to your family and physicians.
Also, the Michigan Legislature has prepared a booklet that will help you legally designate an advocate. It's called "Planning for your Peace of Mind," and can be obtained from any legislator. Most of us are represented by Mark Meadows. His office can send you some of these booklets.
Another booklet called Five Wishes can be ordered online for $5. This is a very user-friendly tool to think through your values and desires for care at the end of life. It is a legal designation of your wishes in the state of Michigan, if it is accompanied by a state acceptance form signed by your health care advocate.
The Episcopal Church's stance on end of life care can be found here.
Finally, you can always call me if you would like to pre-plan your funeral service. We have a form here in the office at All Saints that will help you select readings and hymns and outline the kind of memorial you hope to have. Copies of all your directives and wishes can also be kept here at church. I have a private drawer with folders of people's Last Wishes to be referred to at the time of their death or terminal illness.