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Working with my client through Conscious Health, Personal Care and Final Wishes

Mar 01, 2022

My name is Karen Hendrickson and I’m a professional Coach in life, death, grief, and all the messy in between. Not many people take the time to explore their health, personal care and final wishes in a truly conscious way. And when I can guide someone to do that, it’s an honor! As the first licensed Willow EOL Educator™, Willow’s tools have been a pillar of my practice for the last three years. Let me illustrate with an example.

How do we make conscious health and personal care decisions?

When Sue came to me, she was suffering from a chronic respiratory and autoimmune disease and her goal was to ensure she maintained some control over her healthcare and end-of-life decisions, as well as find resolve on unfinished business in her life.

In my first conversations with Sue, she had no idea about the choices available to her, or that she could identify her final wishes and possibly make them happen. My role in Sue’s journey was to support her in identifying her beliefs, values, and wishes, and then offering options so she could make conscious decisions about her health and personal care, to create a meaningful plan for her final wishes before death, at death, and after death.  

First task: Identify your beliefs, values, and wishes

As a Licensed Willow EOL Educator™, I was able to guide Sue through the foundational exercises in Willow’s 7 Tools for Making Sense of Life & Death workbook and encouraged her to be curious and gain greater awareness of her heart-centered wishes.  Using the workbook I helped Sue with the following:

  • She uncovered her core values, “ease” and “simplicity”.
  • She reviewed her hopes and fears about death and dying.
  • She got clarity on who and what mattered most to her.  

Second Task: Have courageous conversations

Sue was clear that she wanted to access Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) and to do so at home, not in a facility. Once she was clear about what she wanted, we used the 5 Steps for Successful End-of-Life Planning Conversations to help her prepare and stay focused on her intentions and motivation when discussing her plans with those close to her.  

The foundational work made it easy for Sue to invite her people to be there for her final “hurrah”, select music and readings to be shared in her final hours, make requests for the kind of lighting she wanted, and even choose the special nightgown she would wear. 

By guiding Sue through Willow’s How to Write Your Hearts Will™ and the 5-minute Legacy Love Letter™  she was able to speak her final words with clarity and purpose and leave lasting messages and memories in love letters she left for her dear ones.

Finally, Those Final Wishes

Willow’s tools and resources, including the 9 Things to Include in Your Departure Directions  helped us plan for her after-death care as well.  Sue led decisions on:

  • who would look after her body after she died, and how
  • which funeral director would handle her after-death care
  • the exact special cedar box that would hold her cremated remains
  • her specific instructions about how and where she’d like her remains scattered

On the day of her death, Sue was confident she had given the greatest gift of love to her family and friends.  She had given them a clear and meaningful plan designed of her own heart and hands; and her community knew her death was exactly as she wanted it to be. 

Upcoming Workshop for You

If you’re curious about how Willow’s materials and approach can help you or people in your life, check out any of the four upcoming Willow Workshops™ delivered by licensed Willow EOL Educators™. 

With love,

Karen

 

What about you?

Do you use Willow tools for yourself or in your practice? 

How have they helped?