Is waiting until you are diagnosed with a terminal illness the best time to have an end of life discussion with the people that care about you?
I will tell you that this is the least optimal time to begin this discussion. A terminal diagnosis may give you a timeframe of days, weeks or months to live. A terminal diagnosis brings with it an abundance of shock, stress, chaos, and grief, yours and other peoples. Throw in hospital visits for treatment, new relationship dynamics with medical practitioners, and of course within your family or close circle of friends. It is a time of great demands of your precious time and vitality.
It seems to me a more humane approach for all involved is to get your affairs in order, well ahead of time. There are a lot of details that need to be considered. There are the Legalities of Wills and Estates, as well as documents to be filed with the government. There are financial obligations that also need to be met. There are decisions about what interventions you would accept in order to extend your life. You need to consider if extending your life is worth more than your quality of life. What do you want done with your body? Someone will have to carry out your wishes and file your paperwork. They need to know or have access to the details. They need to know what is important to you.
If you truly love the ones you will be leaving behind, I could not think of a kinder thing to do, then to spend the time now thinking about yourself, and how you want to face an accident, or terminal illness and eventually, death and then get it into writing. Those who will carry out your wishes will feel a huge relief that you did this.
If you are ready now, to get it down in writing, don’t hesitate, just do it.
“Seize the day,” as “they” say.