At the age of 71, my mom was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. This diagnosis was particularly challenging because my mom’s younger sister lost her decade-long battle with Colon Cancer only a few months prior.

My mom evaluated her options and decided not to treat her cancer. While we developed my mom’s advance care plan, we spent time talking about how she wanted to live her life.

One of the many gifts that my mom gave me, through advance care planning, was a custom cookbook of our family’s recipes. Cooking was very important to my mom and she wanted to be sure that I could pass them on to our next generation. We spent her final year making each of the recipes together. I will treasure these memories of cooking together forever.

My mom lived under her own terms for one full year. We shared stories about the past, traveled to her favorite destinations and ate all her favorite foods.

My mom’s advance care plan allowed us to focus on the milestones she wanted to achieve before death. And when it came time to make decisions when she was no longer able to, we did them with confidence that we were honoring her wishes.

Through Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest, my mom’s experience drives me to support other families with the gift of advance care planning.


~Sue Bergmann