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End-of-life planning program Jan. 25 at Marble Falls church

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

MARBLE FALLS — On an ordinary Sunday morning in December, Betty Matejowsky’s life changed.

She was putting the finishing touches on her outfit for church as her husband, Alan, headed out the front door to start the car.

Seconds later, she followed him but couldn’t open the door. He had collapsed against it from the outside after suffering a stroke, but he was still alive.

Facing several critical decisions regarding Alan’s care, Betty might have been overwhelmed, but she and Alan had already taken an important step in preparing for such situations.

The couple had discussed and documented their end-of-life wishes.

Now, Betty wants others to have those tough conversations. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church’s Retiree Roundup, of which Betty is a coordinator, is hosting a seminar on end-of-life planning with guest speaker Garrick Colwell of Kitchen Table Conversations, which offers free workshops and seminars on the topic. The event begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, in the church fellowship hall, 1803 RR 1431 in Marble Falls.

While there’s no fee to attend, people are asked to contribute an item to the free salad bar. Donations also will be accepted for future Retiree Roundup programs. Call (830) 693-2253 to make a reservation.

Colwell will outline how to initiate those important conversations, and document them, with loved ones as well as the details of end-of-life planning.

Though these are tough talks, Betty Matejowsky urges people to have them “before you’re in a position to where you can’t take care of yourself.”

Attendees will receive a kit to guide them through their planning and documenting.

Also, the Rev. Danielle Casey of St. Peter’s will talk about having conversations on burial planning.

Betty Matejowsky said her husband was a very active man before his stroke. He served on the church council, and the two were to be greeters the morning he collapsed.

“He looked healthy,” she said. “The only complaints he had were joint pain and knees. He was very active and still working part time.”

That December day, as doctors were preparing to perform a craniotomy, a surgery on the skull, Betty recalled the conversations she had with her husband and told doctors she wasn’t sure he would want the procedure done. She drove one hour back to their home, retrieved the paperwork, and headed back to the hospital.

Doctors decided not to perform the surgery based on Alan’s written wishes, which stated he just wanted to be made comfortable.

“Those (end-of-life) conversations helped me a lot. Seeing his handwriting helped me make decisions,” Betty Matejowsky said. “You have to decide (some things) in a short period of time. If you’re not prepared, it’s hard.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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