During a visit to my mom’s home two Thanksgivings ago, she talked candidly with me about her wishes and my dad’s wishes when they passed away. Both had living wills. They did not want to be kept alive, resuscitated or artificially fed. They wanted to be cremated. She showed me where all the important papers were kept. Everything was in order.
That’s never an easy discussion to have with your parents. Call it denial. Or avoidance. But the conversation forced me to take a hard look at the situation and what my role would be when one of my parents died.
At 89, my dad had his share of health issues … two heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, shoulder problems. But he was still mentally sharp. My mom, two years younger, lost much of her long-term memory due to a Vitamin B 12 deficiency. But physically, she was in good shape – with the exception of her knees, one of which was replaced.
I had the sense that my mom would outlive my dad. During one of our discussions about the future, I told her that if anything happened to him that she was welcome to move to Raleigh and live with me and my husband. Nothing more was ever said.
In March, my dad died. He had a massive stroke. It was quick, and for that I am grateful. He would have wanted it that way. But his death set off a chain of events that has changed my family’s life and my mom’s life in ways we can’t yet appreciate.
Mom’s moved in.