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A Different Kind of Survival Strategy – Lesson Learned

I tend to focus on the gear and technological aspects of survival, but occasionally we touch on the all-important mental considerations. I was reminded this week that sometimes survival planning also involves making sure you’ve adequately prepared for even the most unsatisfactory circumstances, not surviving.

My wife’s step-dad was in the hospital again last week and Sue had gone down to help her mom while I was away testing life rafts and attending Outdoor Retailer. Monday evening as I was flying home the decision was made to disconnect life support on Tuesday and I drove down to Tucson early on Tuesday to be with her and my mother-in-law to provide whatever support I could. He passed away early in the afternoon. The point of all this is not to elicit sympathy, but to make a point that will hopefully ease your own pain and trials if such a situation arises. This wasn’t the first time we’ve been in such a situation, but it was much easier for having been properly prepared.

Frank had a living will and he had provided both his wife and his daughter with medical power of attorney. There were very clear instructions as to what to do under such circumstances as he was in. He had discussed it at length with everyone involved. I cannot possibly over-emphasize how much this helped. For those most closely involved, it took a huge weight off their shoulders for what can often be an extremely difficult and trying decision. All those most closely involved were at peace with the situation and decision, knowing it was what Frank wanted.

I want to encourage you to discuss this sort of thing with your loved ones. While Frank had a history of medical issues, the fact is that it can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. Failing to prepare for this eventuality can leave loved ones in dire straights and a difficult situation and in mental anguish both during and afterwards. What to do is up to you, but whatever you decide is right for you, it’s so easy to take care of ahead of time, and can be so damn difficult if you do not. Make sure all involved also have authorized copies and they should be part of any collection of important documents in any preparedness kit. A word to the wise…