The Story of Two Loved Ones Who Didn’t Have the Benefit of Advance Directives in Their Times of Need...

Jacqueline Janssen
"Marilyn Geary and I, like most boomers, have suffered losses. When commiserating with each other at dinner at Café Gratitude in Marin County, we came up with the idea to help other boomers finish their plans.

Marilyn’s story…
Marilyn lost her husband to emphysema, and though he used an oxygen tank, they were both in denial. Their son was fourteen when it became clear her husband was dying. She did not know if he wanted to be buried or cremated. She kept him on life support until she could drive to several cemeteries to select one she thought he might prefer.

My story…
My siblings and I lost both parents when they were young adults. The siblings embraced different religions and fought over funeral directions. My father ended up with a traditional ceremony, though I maintain he would have wanted jazz, bourbon and Zen poetry. Over that and asset distribution without wills, it took the siblings, who had been close, years to reconcile.

Our Resolve…
We wanted to write a book and provide forms, but people buy books and still never finish. With Marilyn’s masters in instructional design, we created a program that helps people take six easy steps, using motivational tools.Everyone who has gone through the LeaveLight process has finished to their satisfaction.
Today, in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, we are holding a free workshop at Whistlestop in San Rafael, CA to share the book and steps with people and give them the tools they need to finally finish. The resources we developed can be found at www.leavelight.com."
Editors Note: Jacqueline and Marilyn’s personal experiences with loved ones who had not completed their advance directives, led them to help others ‘have the talk.’ What will you do to make sure that your family doesn’t suffer in the way that these ladies did? Today is a good day to spark that conversation with your loved ones. You can take the pledge (below) and share the NHDD public resources with your loved ones. Look for more inspiring posts throughout the day and cosnider taking the NHDD pledge.

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