True Confessions: I AM a “NAGGER” *

Elizabeth Hurlow-Hannah is nothing less than ONE BIG NAG and I will be indebted to her for being such for the rest of my life.

The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth has been a very good and close friend of my wife and me for almost twenty years now. But in the last several years, she has been reminding me that I should put my will, health advance directive and other end-of-life papers in order.  When she became aware that I was procrastinating on getting this matter accomplished, she became a bit more forceful in reminding me how important this matter is. To get this dear friend off my back, my wife and I went to an elder-law attorney about a year ago and had the appropriate papers drawn up. We both indicated in our advance health directives that we wanted no extraordinary resuscitation measures to be taken in case of a health crisis, including feeding tubes.

On October 31, 2015, my wife suffered a major stroke. If it had not been for the existence of that advance health directive, the medical staff would have done everything possible to keep my wife alive even though she would not have been able to say a word or get out of bed for the rest of her life. She seemed fully incapacitated, unable to say her own name when asked by the nurses. If she had been kept alive by feeding tubes and other such extraordinary measure, she would have hated such a life.

She was saved from that life of a bed-ridden invalid only by the existence of that advance health directive, and I will love forever my dear friend, Elizabeth Hurlow-Hannah, for being such a doggone bothersome nag.

Clarence C. Payne, Retired Presbyterian Minister  Tallahassee, Florida

* Reverend Clarence Payne invited me to take the fifty hour Stephen Ministry training at National Presbyterian Church (NPC) in 1995–and it changed my life. While he and his wonderful wife, Rosita, served at NPC, we became close friends. After his retirement and their son David’s cancer death, they retired to Florida to be with their daughter’s family. Clarence has been my theological advisor for YOUR EXIT STRATEGY.

Whenever I called for his advice, I felt compelled to ask:  “Have you and Rosita filled out your End of Life paperwork yet?” Imagine my shock when he called to say it was completed. Still in a state of shock at her untimely demise, I’m so thankful that Rosita’s final wishes were honored because she’d protected herself with these documents.