Most dinner table conversations start with “How was your day today?” or if you’re asking a child, “What did you learn in school today?”
But Michael Hebb’s table is different: “Would I want a feeding tube? Does dad want to die at home? What happens to my kids if I die in an accident along with my spouse?”
Bloomberg reporter Shannon Pettypiece listened in on one of Hebb’s “death dinners,” pointing out that 70 percent of adults have not written a living will that clarifies the medical treatments and interventions they would want or would choose not to have if they are unable to communicate, according to the Pew Research Center. We hear from consumers who live that statistic: “I had no idea what my sister wanted” or “My brothers and sisters argued about what Mom would have wanted and wished we could have just asked her.”
An advance medical directive is an online version of such a document that should be created while you’re still healthy and your mental faculties are at their best. Take the time to think clearly and thoughtfully as opposed to reacting in a state of crisis. Go ask doctors, other medical professionals, friends and family specific questions. In our experience, the most important questions you can answer on your own with your family – around the kitchen table, not the operating table.
Michael is right. The kitchen table is “the most forgiving place for difficult conversation.” Difficult conversations aren’t as difficult when we have our family’s insights and support to lean on.