my heart belongs to daddy

I first discovered the Five Wishes document in the course of writing advance directive features for hospitals. It’s a great example of the good that has come because visionary people like Colorado’s Dr. Fred Abrams helped move medical ethics mainstream.

From the outside Wishes couldn’t be more simple. That changes–in a most meaningful way–when you begin filling out the worksheet. For after four questions on what you want others to know about your medical treatment preferences comes #5: What do you want your family to know about you and the life you’ve lived?

Kinda cuts to the chase, doesn’t it?

If I remember correctly, I had sent copies of the blue brochure to Marilyn to share with our folks, who were then in their late 80s. When they had completed them, she called me back to tell me Dad’s single-phrase statement in the #5 slot:  “That I did the best I could.”

Holy moly. Talk about an understatement. This was the guy who left school well before the 8th grade ended to help feed his  family. Was one of first reconstruction troops on the ground after Japan surrendered. Came home, started farming all over again, raised four kids, and served as Promise City’s postmaster, Sunday school teacher, wise man and mentor. The photo above was taken on his and Mom’s wedding anniversary in 1954, a few months after we moved to what is now the Buffalo Farm and four years before a massive heart attack would change all our lives.

He’s the first guy I ever heard suggest that evolution and Creation were one and the same, just a matter of time. (Which, believe it or not, was a hot topic even in the 1950s.) He’s the guy my mother’s family asked to play peacemaker when they could not reach an amicable decision among themselves. He’s also the guy who gave me one of my go-to mental health principles: “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in.”

Today’s Dad’s birthday…92. And since birthdays are about wishes–and since this was a man who was a master of thinking ahead–I hope you’ll click this link www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php and get your own copy.

And don’t tell me you’re too young. Trust me…that changes. It’s just a matter of time. 😉

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