What does filipendulous mean?

I know; I had never heard that word before in my life, until I stumbled across it in an article about planning for the end of life.

Filipendulous means  "hanging by a thread".

Ah ha!  Now that describes situations that I expect everyone has found themselves to be in at one time or another during their lifetime.  It describes the twisted, knotted feeling inside your gut that illustrates what it feels like to be out of control and hanging by a thread.

So what does that have to do with planning for the inevitable?

Planning for those moments of crisis in your life, or the life of a loved one, can help eliminate that gut wrenching, skin tingling, terrible spinning feeling when things have suddenly come unglued and difficult decisions are being made at warp speed, with no forethought or discussion.

That moment is when everyone is "filipendulous".

End of life planning is not a topic that individuals and families are comfortable with. It seems a lot easier to use denial as a response to hard conversations,  or kicking the topic down the road, or ignoring the topic altogether.

But denial, procrastination and ignorance all converge in a perfect storm when there is a sudden death in the family or even an expected death, leaving those left behind in a filipendulous state.

I suggest that it is far better to be in control of a situation than have the situation control you. And the only way to be in control is to consider and communicate your answers and preferences to the following questions during your lifetime.

In other words...don't wait.

  • What do you think quality of life means?
  • What kind of medical treatment do you want?
  • What kind of medical treatment do you not want?
  • How and where can you get the best long term medical care?
  • Who is your best advocate(s) at the end of your life?
  • Does your advocate live nearby?
  • Have you discussed your end of life wishes with your advocate?
  • Do you want to be lucid in the end? or do you prefer complete pain management?
  • Do you want to utilize hospice?
  • Where do you want to die?
  • What do you think a good death is ?
  • Who do you want with you when you die?
  • What are the most important things you wish to communicate before you die?

 Here's a video about considering the conversation.

You can have control in the end and you can choose to minimize those feelings of  hanging by a thread. 

Start the conversations-with yourself and then with your loved ones.

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