I will never forget watching my 4th grade teacher, Irene Herrin, a family friend whom I adored, die an agonizingly slow and painful death from cancer at age 65.

Irene had no living family when she got sick. There was no one to advocate for her and to find out how and whether she wanted to be treated in her last days. Back then, people rarely used an advanced directive to advise their healthcare providers and family about what end-of-life care they want and didn’t want if they cannot speak for themselves.

As I recall, she was put in a medically-induced coma during her last, awful, days. She died without hearing how much people loved her. She had no control over the last days of her life. I remember my dad saying, “Irene would hate not being able to feel the love we all have for her.”

Years later, as a young adult, Irene’s death inspired me to complete an advance directive and appoint a healthcare proxy to ensure my healthcare providers honor my advance directive. I didn’t want the same fate as Irene.

More at link End-of-life planning eases the pain