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Barbara Bush continues to offer wisdom
Barbara Bush has always been known to speak her mind, a breath of fresh air in the years before the current administration when every utterance was vetted and scripted.
From her doubts about President Clinton failing to remember encounters with a certain intern to expressing her doubts about another member of the Bush family in the White House, she was always good for an honest perspective on current events.
She’s remaining true to form right up to the end, according to an announcement from her family this weekend.
Mrs. Bush, 92, who has been suffering from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has decided “not to seek additional medical treatment and will focus on comfort care,” according to a family spokesman.
“It sounds like this forthright, outspoken woman has made her wishes known, and the family is standing by her,” said Ellen Goodman, co-founder of the Conversation Project, which encourages families to discuss and document their end-of-life preferences.
“It makes perfectly good sense at her age, with her failing health, that she would say at some point, ‘Life’s been good, and while you always want more, it’s enough,’” said Joanne Lynn, director of the program to improve elder care at Altarum Institute.
It’s a conversation all of us should have with our loved ones, and not only in the later stages of life.
It’s also one of the toughest conversations we can have, whether we’re talking about ourselves or our loved ones.
What are the options for treatment and what is the most likely outcome of each? No one wants to talk about expenses, but how will our decision affect those we leave behind?
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offers resources for answering these and many other questions and finding the care we need.
You can find them here.
We don’t know the process Mrs. Bush used in deciding to choose comfort care, but her own words indicate she has her priorities in order:
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.”
— Barbara Bush