What Are Your Spiritual Concerns for Late Life and End of Life?
What Will Your Legacy be to Family, Friends, & Community?
This session, presented by Reverend Nell Fields of the Waquoit Congregational Church and Reverend Deb Warner of the Church of the Messiah, focused on some of the spiritual and family issues that you may face at the end of life, including funeral and memorial arrangements, assuring that your wishes are known for the disposal of your possessions and creating documents to assure your legacy.
Four R's for Your Spirit
You may find this list helpful in your search for meaning.
Take time to reflect on your life and its events. What were your accomplishments? Who influenced you, for better or worse, and whose lives did you influence? Who did you love? Who do you love? What do those relationships mean to you now?
Take time to see your life as a whole. You may ask what your life really added up to, or who you really were. You might share your thoughts with those who know and love you. Even if you accomplished much in the worldly sense, you may feel you really came up short on doing well with your life. And if life was really tough, you may feel unfairly denied your chances. This is the time to be honest and thoughtful. You are likely to find that you did pretty well, on the whole, and you will probably find ways to forgive yourself and others. Surprisingly, you will even find ways to see and complete important tasks, such as instructing a grandchild, affirming the goodness of someone who really needs your support, or arranging your finances to protect your spouse.
Try to be at peace with yourself. You may need to reconcile yourself to not having done the things you always wanted to do. You may need to forgive yourself for your shortcomings or transgressions, or forgive those who hurt or disappointed you. You may need to ask others to forgive you. Reconciliation with your imperfections, and those of others, can help you find peace.
Try to be at peace with those you love. Most of us have had various relationships disrupted over our lifetime, from death, anger, relocation, and the many forces that push people apart. As serious illness threatens, it is important to come together with family and friends, when you can, and to have the chance to say farewells. Don't wait too long to try to see that long-estranged sister or son, or even to sit awhile with a friend from long ago.
New End of Life Planning Resource: Defining Your Legacy