Here, for your consideration, is a summary of one man’s final wishes, end-of-life plans, and legal arrangements…
(1) I don’t want to outlive my usefulness.
(2) I don’t want to outlive my ability to enjoy simple pleasures.
(3) I don’t want to linger and wither away.
(4) I don’t want anybody to see me linger and wither away.
(5) I want my family and friends to remember me full of life and at my most purposeful and courageous best.
Note: I’ve already communicated the above (both verbally and in writing) to the small circle of family and friends concerned.
(6) Near the end, I don’t want to be a burden on anyone’s time, health, energy, and emotions.
(7) Should I have the capacity to speak and act on my own behalf, I want (and fortunately have) the option to die with dignity (see my series: Death with Dignity).
(8) Should I lose the capacity to speak and act on my own behalf, I want to be kept comfortable and to have no measures taken to prolong my life.
(9) I don’t want to squander any of my estate keeping me alive for no other purpose than to prolong suffering and postpone the inevitable.
Note: I’ve already communicated the above (both verbally and in writing) to the small circle of family and friends concerned. I have trusted agents who I respect, who share my values, and who have promised to honor my wishes without hesitation–wishes that are clearly defined in a living will and advance medical care directive. And I’ve already made contact with local hospice organizations that support medical aid in dying.
(10) I don’t want to be a burden on anyone’s time, health, energy, and emotions after the fact.
(11) I don’t want to leave any of my survivors with work to do–except for making a handful of unavoidable phone calls.
(12) I don’t want those who care about me to see me dead.
(13) I don’t want anyone to have to dress up and waste any precious heartbeats going to a funeral or memorial service. Neither do I want anyone to be burdened with organizing any such thing. And so, no viewing. No vigil. No wake. No obituary. No ceremony.
(14) I don’t want to have my embalmed, powdered, well-dressed corpse put into some fancy box and deposited in a human waste landfill–no matter how peaceful and lovely the grounds may be. Neither do I want my name etched on a granite slab along with some clever phrase.
(15) I want to be cremated… immediately. And, per the expressed wishes of certain of my survivors (based on some heavy conversations), my cremains will be distributed to them to do what they will at a time, place, and manner of their choosing.
Note: I’ve already communicated the above (both verbally and in writing) to the small circle of family and friends concerned. And I’ve already contracted with and pre-paid a mortuary to handle all the above, including shipping of my cremains to my survivors who requested them.
(16) I want 100% of my estate to go to causes that I care about.
Note: I’ve already such arrangements by a combination of a living trust and payable on death beneficiary designations as appropriate. Furthermore, I have contracted with a fiduciary (a professional executor) so that none of my survivors will be burdened with managing my estate.