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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

From The Archives: How Prepared Are You?

Written By: Busola Grillo—The purpose of this article is not to scare you as a reader but really to bring some really important life issues into full focus. At the beginning of the summer [of 2007], my oldest sister was rushed to the emergency room in a diabetic coma. As time passed, her condition got worse because she was also battling a major infection from a septic wound. Forty-eight hours after arriving at the hospital, she was pronounced dead.

She was young, full of life and energy, mother of two, hard working and very adventurous, she had her whole life ahead of her, or so she thought, but as fate would have it, I watched helplessly as that life came to an end at 3:01am EST on a Friday morning in a quiet hospital. It became a duty for my family and I to get busy with handling all the necessary requirements that was needed and I must say that nothing prepares you for such a devastating experience. I remember thinking how easy it would be if my sister had something in place, like a guideline of what she would like to have done with her estate, and other belongings and I asked myself: how prepared am I?

It is funny how much effort I put into getting ready for so many events and occasions in my life. For example, if I have a job interview, I spend enough time preparing myself. I learn about the company, practice my responses to any questions they may ask, secure a plan B or C for anything life may throw my way. Unfortunately, if something were to happen to me today and I cease to have life, I cannot say that I am in anyway prepared for that event. Are you?

Here are some lessons that I learned during this trying ordeal:

1. Accept and understand that death is inevitable; it is the one sure thing we know about life.

2. Accept and understand that death can happen anytime.

3. Accept and understand that death can happen in any manner.

4. Write a will for yourself, no matter how young or old you think you are. Give very clear explanations of what you will like to have done in you absence with respect to your property and your family. Equally important, state what you will not like to have done in the event your wishes cannot be fulfilled. Leave room for no assumptions. If you want to be buried in your home village, for example, state clearly that you will like have that done.

5. Have an information card in different places that has your name, your health insurance information, your first, second and third emergency point of contacts, and your primary care giver. Give a copy to your emergency contacts. This way, if you are unconscious, you will not be regarded as an uninsured Jane Doe.

6. Take great care of your health. Get a yearly physical exam, and let your doctor test you for everything, especially those things that might be hereditary. Do not be afraid of knowing. With knowledge, you can take steps to heal yourself.

7. Celebrate every moment of your life. Don't wait till the next birthday, thanksgiving, holidays or whenever; celebrate now before now becomes a history.

(Originally Published In September 2007, Breaking Boundaries)

(Photo Credits: Dreamstime ©