I Have my Plan in Place! Thank You Be@Ease.

In August, 2004 my older sister came down with what she thought was a cold. After several days with no improvement, she made an appointment to see her doctor. At the doctor’s office she suffered a heart attack. Her doctor rushed her to the hospital, but she died on the operating table. She was 32 years old, and I was 17. No one in my family was prepared for her death.

This past August, my 49 year old aunt who had no prior health problems, experienced a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. The hospital staff got her stabilized and she appeared to be recovering.  Three days later she suffered a second stroke which left her in a coma.  My family was scrambling to kind any kind of paper work or documents that would give an indication of  how she would want to be treated in this condition.  Unfortunately, we had never spoken about it and our family had no idea. The damage from the second stroke was irreversible.  Two days later, without knowing of her wishes, it was decided to stop all treatment and to let her die. This was a very stressful experience for everyone in our family.

Several weeks ago, I heard a presentation about a program called Be@Ease. The program encourages people to think about and plan for what kind of care they want in case the unexpected happens. It also provides the tools to help people document their wishes for care at the end of their life and encourages people to share the document with others.

I am getting married in October of this year and it struck me that I needed to do this – for myself, for my future husband and for my family.  I am now an only child, and I will be responsible for making sure my parents wishes are fulfilled.   I called my mom and told her about Be@Ease, and that I wanted to talk to her about advance care planning.  She was relieved.   For a long time, she had wanted to talk to me about these issues, but she knew I wasn’t ready.  I was scared.

Now I feel like I have the clarity and the tools to complete this very important step in my life. I will celebrate my new life and my marriage knowing I have my plans in place.

Ebonie Williams,
Tinley Park, IL