Bowelbabe and End of Life Planning.
If, like me, you have followed Dame Deborah James's journey with bowel cancer, then you cannot fail to have been inspired by her determination, strength, and the impact she has had on so many lives.
Writing her blog posts on Facebook as Bowelbabe (https://www.facebook.com/bowelbabe) she has charted her journey through this awful disease, holding nothing back, and becoming an advocate for talking openly about every single aspect of bowel cancer. She has actively encouraged us all to be more open and honest about our own health, and to get checked out if we have any of the symptoms. Through this work she has saved lives; people who were scared to go to their Doctor took that first step, with Deborah's encouragement, and have received the early treatment that has saved their life. What an amazing legacy to leave behind.
This week we have all been heartbroken to read her very brave post, announcing that she is now in her end of life and being cared for at home, surrounded by those she loves. However, even within the posts, and her final article for the Sun, she has inspired others, by talking about the need to sort out her life/death admin.
I am a Funeral Planning Advocate, and part of this is encouraging people to talk about the need to be open and honest, in advance, about their end of life. It is never too soon to put those plans in place, to think about how you would like your life to be celebrated, to write letters to your loved ones, to write your Will (this is sooo important), to plan what will happen with your business, to help your partner plan for life without you.
We all treat this as a taboo subject, and I am so grateful to Deborah for talking about it in her final days. I hesitated as to whether I should write this post, but I took my inspiration from Deborah, after all, if she had not spoken out, then none of us would have begun those conversations around bowel cancer. So here I am, talking about what you can do to make life easier for your loved ones, when the times comes.
One of the most rewarding parts of my role, is to sit with someone and write their Funeral Wishes. It is always a difficult thing to decide to do, but we are soon laughing and joking about all the different options. We often look at the most whacky choices available, but always end up with a celebration of life that is perfect for that person. After all, we are all unique, we all deserve to have our lives celebrated, and only we really know exactly how we would like that celebration to be.
Once the wishes are typed up and signed, they can be stored away with your Will, amended as the years go by (if you wish), and then, when the time comes, your loved ones know exactly how you would like to be celebrated, giving them huge peace of mind. It is a wonderful gift to leave those you love.
So, I will take my inspiration from the incredible Dame Deborah James, and continue to talk about planning for your end of life/funeral, wherever, and whenever I can. We never know when our life will end, but we do know that one day it will, and just like planning for every other life event, planning for your end of life can only be a good thing.
My thoughts are with Dame Deborah and her family, and my heartfelt thanks go to her for sharing her story so beautifully, with us all. I hope that her final days are as free from pain, and peaceful, as they can possibly be.