Many many years ago, before I was born, a beloved young cousin in my family was sick, and dying of leukemia. Towards the end of his life, there was a sign above his bed that said "nothing by mouth," meaning he should not have anything to eat or drink as he was getting his nutrition intravenously. As the story goes, one night he began to say "I want my mommy now, I want my Pepsi now" over and over. His mother was with him, and after a few minutes someone went to get him a Pepsi. A nurse or someone was concerned because the instructions were to not give him anything to drink. She asked the doctor about it, and was told "It's ok, it's what he wants and there isn't much time." Even at the tender age of 3, he knew what he wanted at the end of his life and he asked for and got it. We should all be so lucky.
I was reminded of this story today while I was reordering Five Wishes Living Wills for my clients, and saw that the company now offers a version of this document for children, called My Wishes.
Much like the adult version, this booklet walks the child through their wishes for how they want to be treated, how comfortable they want to be, what they want their friends and family to know, what they want their doctors and nurses to know, what their likes and dislikes are and what things will make them feel better. What a great way for a child in the hospital or facing an illness or chronic condition to feel like they have some control over what is happening to them.
I offer the Five Wishes Living Will to my adult clients, and will now be offering the My Wishes children's version for those clients who want them for their children.