Why does a New Year’s resolution have to be all about “me”? Lose weight. Reduce debt. Close a big business deal. Develop your personal “SMART” goals.

How about a resolution that can impact those closest to you forever?

It’s not a common goal, I realize. Actually I have never heard of it before. What if your New Year’s resolution was this: “To have all my affairs in order”…Really?

What if you made a commitment to put into place the necessary documentation so that, if you were to die suddenly or from a life-limiting illness, your family’s load would be lightened by having planned ahead.

How about completing a detailed Will, Personal Directive, Power of Attorney, Substitute Decision-Making Authority and final Celebration of Life Service, and putting it down on paper? Once completed, you could set a date to sit down with all your family and have an open conversation about your end-of-life wishes. Sound morbid? It’s not really. Even though you may not be sick, or planning to die this year, it’s still a courageous resolution. Why? Because it will lighten your family’s load, should the unexpected happen.

What might be the result of such a resolution?

Once completed, this New Year’s resolution will help your family manage and transition during what is considered the most difficult time in life – having a loved one die – and enable them to move forward together in peace knowing that they have followed your clear wishes.

Should anything happen to you, this unusual New Year’s resolution would help your family move from grief into mourning in a healthy way without the angst of uncertainty.

That’s the goal!

Written by Rick Bergh, counselor, pastor and thanatologist, and former AHPCA Board Member.

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