Final Wishes provides a comprehensive and compassionate guide to planning for life's wind-down.
The topic of death and dying is—for many in our society—a taboo subject. People die every day and yet we rarely talk about these experiences or share the tasks associated with this stage of life. People are too often prevented by old age or illness from making their wishes known or having a sense of control over this time in their lives. Our caregivers and grieving loved ones are often left without the pertinent information needed to make decisions on our behalf, and explicit directions on how to proceed knowing that our wishes are being fulfilled can be a welcome gift.
This beautifully designed journal includes a list of recommended documents and vital information needed to manage your personal, financial, and business affairs with care and consideration, including:
Key contacts: family, executor, attorney, primary care provider, healthcare power of attorney
Initial tasks: who to contact and when, arrangements/obituary, will
Funeral and burial plans: flowers, ceremony type, music, readings, memorials
Healthcare: medical conditions, health insurance, primary physician, hospital, how I wish to be cared for
Dependents: plans for their care
Pets: who will care for them, veterinary information
Financial dealings: outstanding debts, savings accounts, life insurance, employer benefits, social security, pensions, what beneficiaries can expect
Important documents: will, driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc, and where they can be found
Business information: accounts, wishes, information
Insurance: life, home, health, contents, vehicle, pet, other
Utilities and accounts: what to pay, what to close, what to cancel, user names, passwords, account information, social media and email accounts
Personal property: my home, my garden, vehicles, heirlooms, valuables, safe, storage unit
Personal wishes: who has access to this book, if I become unable to communicate, other notes
Note that this book is not a legal document and in no way replaces the need for a will.
The practical information is coupled with carefully crafted journal exercises for personal introspection, including:
Think about a time someone you loved died. What information did they leave that was helpful? What did they leave behind? What was comforting? What did you not know/did you wish you had known?
Why are you leaving this information? Who will it benefit? What are the pros of this exercise? Are there any potential cons?
What makes you happy? What have you done in your life that has brought you most joy/been most fun?
How did you get your first name? Who named you? Were you named after someone else? Is there an interesting family story behind your name or nickname?
Think of your emergency contacts. What are your fondest memories of those people?
What are your most treasured possessions? Why is it important to you that people know about these items?
Small enough to fit into a lockable safe, the journal has an envelope for storing any additional items and die-cut tabs for ease of navigation.
If you want to take control of your future and retain your autonomy and independence as you age, Final Wishes provides a place to express private thoughts, to explore life’s lessons and meaning, and to share stories.
About the Author
Amy Lawlor Levine is the Executive Director and Director of Education and Training for The Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort, a non-profit organization in New York City. Her work in end of life and serious illness has been recognized in publications such as The New York Times. She has been a contributing writer to the Huffington Post on her work with people at the end of life. Amy is a clinical social worker whose vast professional experience includes hospice care and geriatric psychiatry. She created the Palliative Care Doula Volunteer program which is used by major hospitals. In addition to her work with the Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort, she is an international consultant and speaker creating interactive training programs for professionals in healthcare and social services as well as for the general public. Contact Amy at www.amylevineconsulting.com.
“An excellent supplementary tool, ideal for encouraging careful thought about what all too many people prefer to put out of their minds until too late, and easily stored with anything else the user wishes to pass on to their heirs.”—Midwest Book Review