The Planning

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The Planning

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My mom fell on Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. My dad called me at 7:40 a.m., casually asking what I had going on during the day. "I have a training today," I explained, biting my tongue when I wanted to say, "Remember? I have a training."

"What time does that start," he asked.

"9," I replied, followed by, "What's going on, Dad?"

"Well, your mother fell."

"Where is she now?"

"On the floor."

"When did she fall?"

"10 minutes ago."

"I'll be right there."

When I arrived, my mom was sitting up on floor. A gash above the goose egg above her eye was bleeding and my dad had piled up wash clothes with blood on them on the table. I suggested she go the ER. "I'm concerned you have an internal contusion which will burst and you will die," I explained not quite correctly or with much sensitivity but wanted to get the point across. I cleaned her up as we continued to discuss the ER. Ultimately, they decided against it, which I was okay with. I offer the suggestions, participate in discussions around the decision and then honor their decisions. I don't want to withhold information ("and you will die") which I believe they need to make a decision that's right for them. I then called my younger sister to relieve me so I could get to my training.

Unfortunately, my mom has been falling for several years (read "Oh, Bloody Hell, a Fall") but the sight of her with facial bruising and a black eye is still jolting. I feel like I watch my parents fade -- it's not a sudden disappearance but a slow and steady one. I know what's coming.

Because I know what's coming, I've started the conversation about their funeral plans a few times over the years. I began about seven years ago while driving my mom to an appointment. She shared about a funeral she had just attended so I walked through the open door and asked about her preferences. "Oh, do whatever you want," she said. "I won't be here."

I tried again after that dead-end conversation during a visit with other family members, including a sibling and brother-in-law. I shared my wishes and asked about what others wanted. My parents got up from the living room and headed into the kitchen in the middle of our discussion. Door closed.

I began 2016 with a determined goal to learn the funeral plans. During a lunch with my parents when they lived in the retirement community, I asked about funeral plans. The lunch happened to be to celebrate my birthday, so my dad said, "Do we really have to do this now?' and then my mom started throwing up. (My mom was recovering from surgery to remove a 1/3 of her stomach to stop an internal bleed and sometimes threw up after eating a dish too rich or sweet.) 2016 and 2017 both closed without any funeral plans in place.

So, yesterday, during a visit to make sure they are doing okay, I said my parents, "I'd like to meet your financial planner just so he knows who I am," I said. I had the idea to do this on Saturday during a presentation by @tonigitles, a student in the weekend's Certified Caregiving Consultant and Educator training programs. Toni delivered a presentation focused on preparing for caregiving during which I had an ah-ha! moment. I know who my parents' use to manage their money, I've met him socially during a church event. Actually meeting him to discuss how to contact him after my parents' death seemed like a good idea.

My parents agreed with my request and my reasoning. My dad immediately made an appointment for he and I to meet with the financial planner this morning. With the success of that suggestion, I tackled the funeral plans again. This time, my mom had special requests. Hearing hers led my dad to share his. Interestingly enough, they each want a different funeral home, which I have duly noted. They still need to decide if they want to be cremated or buried and are debating which restaurant to suggest for the luncheon after their funeral masses. As they discussed restaurant options, they both pulled out their iPhones to review menus and pricing for a local restaurants.

We had a bit of a crash on Sunday morning. Yesterday, after calm and thoughtful conversations, we've found our footing.

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EllysGdaughter

Denise, you are such a blessing! I understand how hard it is to wait for the right moment to bring up those \"future planning issues\"! I still have one parent that I need to walk through that conversation with but it is a very sensitive issue still. I will pray for you and your parents as you face each hour of each day as they both \"fade\" in this life. Your care is such a huge gift to them and your heart is gold, even when you aren't feelin' it in the moment (((hugs))).

CathyJ

Denise, thank you for sharing. I find I get caught up in the \"today\" and need to remember to also prepare for the \"next\". My mom was very proactive after dad passed and has already paid for her funeral. Yesterday, I found the insurance payment papers and took to the safety deposit box so I would have them when needed. We also have talked about the service, etc. Just a good reminder to live in the now and think about the next. Such a way to honor your parents in how you plan with them, share with them, and let them make their decisions. What a blessing you all are to each other.

jan

Thanks, Denise, for showing us the way forward again. Even tho it took more attempts at conversation than you wanted, you persisted. I'm so glad for the peace of mind you have now, knowing you're doing what they want. I hope your mom is feeling more comfortable after her fall. I know what it feels like to look into the face of your mother when she has a black eye. So many emotions..... glad for this victory for all of you.

Lark

What a beautiful description of the process and the time it takes to reach some points in the process. Your patience with your parents, while it may have taken faking it till you make it, is so loving. Finally, a door opened and you were able to bring them to the place you have wanted to bring them for so long. I love that you honor them and yet you continue to take the opportunities to get through to them. They are fortunate to have you in their lives.

frogger16

Sry to hear your Mom took a fall. I was thinking as I read, how blessed your folks are ....that they can call you and ask for help...that you help them sort the situation out but respect the end decision that is theirs to make. \r\nGlad to hear funeral wishes were finally expressed.