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The Elephant in the Room

Elephant in the Room by Terry Kettering

There's an elephant in the room.

It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.

Yet we squeeze by with, "How are you?" and "I'm fine," and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather. We talk about work.

We talk about everything else, except the elephant in the room.

There's an elephant in the room.

We all know it's there. We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.

It is constantly on our minds. For, you see, it is a very large elephant.

It has hurt us all. But we don't talk about the elephant in the room.

Oh, please say his (her) name.

Oh, please say his (her) name again.

Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room.

For if we talk about his (her) death, perhaps we can talk about his (her) life.

Can I say his (her) name to you and not have you look away?

For if I cannot, then you are leaving me....


in a room....

with an elephant.

​​The idea that our loved ones may become unable to make decisions for themselves is uncomfortable. These people that we have known, likely for much of our lives, so strong and independent, now require our assistance. As we age and decline, it's important we choose someone we trust to make decisions on our behalf. This helps to ensure our wishes are honored.

When completing these documents for loved ones who are experiencing illness, it may make us feel like we are accepting their eventual decline, and perhaps demise. Though these feelings are difficult to deal with, whether or not we complete advanced directives, illness will progress, the difference is that a person's wishes may not be honored. In the event that you become ill and go to the hospital, do you want to be hooked-up to breathing machines? Or have artificial nutrition administered when you can no longer eat? These are important discussions to have with your loved one.

The Illinois Department of Public Health offers a free Power of Attorney for Healthcare form, that when completed by appropriate parties and signed by a witness, helps to ensure your loved ones wishes are followed.

Copies of the completed document should be provided to your chosen healthcare agent, medical providers, and other applicable parties.

Below you will find a link to the Illinois Department of Public Health:

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