By Dr. Peg Sandeen, CEO of Death with Dignity

April has arrived and with it, the beginnings of spring flowers, warmer weather, and the truest “holiday” our movement has – National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16. This day recognizes the significance of end-of-life planning and healthcare decisions for millions of people across the country.

It may seem odd, celebrating the need to make plans for the end of life, but this is a holiday worth celebrating. It’s about family and it’s a time to reflect on your life and your last wishes, especially if someone else may end up making decisions for you because of your health status.

I was home for the holidays at the end of the year, and during a casual conversation, I realized my mom, who is more prepared than most for the end of her life, had not chosen her burial plot. I suggested she pick a sunny day in early spring and drive around the local cemetery to identify her “final resting place.”

Fast forward to the first nice day in March and she did exactly that. And it was quite an adventure!

The spot she decided on is east facing to see the morning sun, on higher ground to avoid challenges of bad weather (ever practical!), and not too near the road. When it came time to figure out how to claim her spot, she flagged down the groundskeeper, who gave her a ride in his John Deere tractor to confirm the details. Quite the sight, an 83-year-old toodling around a cemetery on a tractor!

This whole experience made me think about how we usually associate healthcare and end-of-life decisions as daunting. But as my mom showed, it doesn’t have to be – these conversations can lead to empowering, joy-filled moments you’ll cherish. I also realized how grateful I was that it was a decision she made for herself. It will now always be a spot that she chose, and I know something about it will bring me joy for years to come.

That is why here at Death with Dignity, we want you to join us in celebrating our holiday, National Healthcare Decisions Day, and help us spread the holiday cheer! Over the next week, we want your help reaching out to people across the country to encourage them to have end-of-life planning conversations with their loved ones.

To help, we are making sure folks have access to the Life File, our free end-of-life planning tool that guides them through making a plan for themselves and their loved ones. Please take a second to share the Life File with someone you know on Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram.

We’re also creating a dialogue and shining a light on the everyday experiences of end-of-life planning by collecting stories and advice from people to share throughout the week. Please, take two minutes and tell us your end-of-life planning story!

With your support, we can reshape how people view these decisions – not as daunting, but as empowering experiences to appreciate with loved ones.