Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Make sure you have ability to let go

Wick"s World


July 13, 2017

Ever hear the lawyer joke where the client asks, “What happens if I die?”

The lawyer replies, “What do you mean if?”

This bad joke came from lawyer and part-time humorist Martin J. Yudkowitz who once stated the difference between “brain death” and “regular death” is that with the latter you can’t always get a job at the post office. Having heard that mentioned several times during my illustrious career as postmaster, I can only wonder just how unaware the public is concerning the generally competent, hard working staff at the one government institution people like to see at their door six days a week.

The point I am making today is we are all going to die no matter what Merle Haggard sings: "I think I'm gonna live forever. Hey, dyin' ain't on my list of things to do."

Today, not tomorrow, would be a good time to make your wishes known, should you ever become incapacitated to the point of being unable to express your thoughts concerning the great beyond, or your thoughts on terminal illness. I doubt if any of us wants to become a pawn in a political pursuit by parents, partners, priests, popes, physicians, politicians, presidents, piranhas, pirates and persnickety prying people.

My children were back in Minnesota for their annual return to the state where roots still run deep. While they were here, my wife and I discussed the living trust we had set up so when we are “no longer here,” or as I prefer to state it, "we are both dead," our kids will be able to avoid probate. I won’t tell you how or why we decided to get a living trust, but I will advise it is the best solution to ease decision-making for our offspring.

In 1998, the Minnesota State Legislature established what is known as a health care directive in which you may describe the exact treatments you do, or do not want. A health care directive does not necessarily mean you want the plug pulled; it can also refer to the fact that you want to be kept alive, whether you know what planet you’re on or not. What it does, is allows you to choose someone you trust to carry out YOUR wishes.

There is one part of my health care directive my boys wanted clarified. I stated that when the time comes I am no longer a viable sentient living being, I would like them to pull the plug. I then state in the directive (my lawyer said this was perfectly legal) to reset the machine, wait two minutes, and if I don’t come back to life, please pull the plug once again and pronounce, “He sure makes a good-looking corpse.”

Take these simple steps and prepare for tomorrow in case tomorrow comes sooner than you wish. Select a trusted person to make your decisions known, talk to your family and friends and tell them what you are doing. Most importantly, talk to the physician who provides for your health care, and if for some reason your doctor isn’t willing to abide by your decisions, find one who will.

Make sure your instructions are specific and give them to everyone who may be involved, including, but not limited to, your doctor, hospital, family, clergy, a health care agent you have appointed (and backup if possible) and anyone else involved in your health care. I would advise you to see a lawyer even if you think you know what you‘re doing. Keep in mind that different states have different laws and interpretations. Books and forms are also available at your local library or contact AARP. They will send you information and forms that will help you. The forms are fairly simple and often are free. Also, do not just get a health care directive made and then store it away in your safe deposit box. That’s like pre-filing it in your casket, a place where nobody else is able to go.

Take the advice of Jean de la Fontaine who lived in the 17th century, “Death never takes the wise man by surprise; he is always ready to go.”

Woody Allen put it this way, “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Or, if you’re like me, listen to former Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman. He wrote this in his farewell column in the Texas Monthly, “Life is hanging on tight, spurring hard, and letting ‘er buck. Death is merely letting go of the saddle horn.”

Make sure you have the ability to let go.


Reader Comments

Wiggy writes:

Mag and I have just set up a living trust and both are happy we did. Wiggy


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