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Article posted: 7/23/2013 4:40 AM

Mandela mess shows value of living wills

It is a shame that Nelson Mandela, a model of humanity, a champion of justice and a sage recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is not being granted the opportunity to approach his death in the same way he lived his life, i.e., in dignity and with amazing grace.

Ellen Goodman's column, the conversation we each need to start, July 16, speaks of the disarray of Mandela's family. This current saga in South Africa and Ms. Goodman's column both point to the need for all family members to: have living wills; share copies and have conversations regarding the specifics of those living wills; and be committed to the proper execution of those living wills.

From my own experience over the last 40 years, I cannot overstate the level of comfort arising from family unity in granting the known wishes of loved ones in their last hours.

Donald G. Westlake


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