Tag: Healthcare Proxy

One Year Later

I originally wrote this at the end of March. I delayed posting it because I wanted to extend the joy of celebrating Fish’s birthday. I am eternally grateful that my mother did not die on her granddaughter’s birthday. Time passes, the pain eases, but I still want to remember.

A close up of my grandparents grave maker with my mother's information addedA week and one year ago today at 8pm. My phone rang with a call from Massachusetts General Hospital that would forever change my life.

Your mother is dying, how do you want to proceed.

It was the start of 3 of the worst weeks of my life. A year later, I’m still here to tell the tale maybe stronger for it. I miss the mother who raised me, I don’t miss worrying about the medically fragile woman who would refuse to answer her phone for days on end.

It still hits me out of the blue that she’s gone usually during the good times. Which is good, because she really was a good mother when it mattered most. She gave me a strong foundation upon which to build strong relationships that continue to nurture and support me.

She had a will, but no assets, in general that made the process of disposing of her estate relatively easy, but it wasn’t without it’s bumps. Have you had the talk? Do you have a healthcare proxy? What about a Living Will? Durable Power of Attorney? A will? If you answered no to any of these questions get thee to an attorney PROMPTLY.

Hell even one of those online websites is better than nothing. It’s not for you, you’ll be gone, having your end of life matters in order is a gift for the people who love you. Do it. Do it NOW!!

It’s unfortunate that Fish’s birthday and the anniversary of my mother’s death are only one day apart but it is better than the alternative. I would rather focus on the joy and potential that is my daughter, but I never want to forget woman who played a huge role in the mother I am today.

My mother and I and my college graduation.

Have You Had The Talk?

'48Sheet billboard art project - Birmingham - High Street Deritend - Digbeth - My last will and testament' photo (c) 2012, Elliott Brown - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Have you had The Talk? While I may have a newly minted teenager, I’m not talking about the birds & the bees here. Have you talked to those you love about their end of life wishes?

I have and on April 3rd, I was REALLY glad I had. I got a call at 8pm from a doctor notifying me my mother was in a crisis situation and asking what my mother’s wishes were for end of life care. I knew, but still had trouble converting that knowledge to words. With a little prompting, I recovered and shared her wishes with the medical team treating her.

In the aftermath of her death, so many people I’ve spoken to, have not had “the talk” with their spouse, their parents, their children. If you haven’t been asked, don’t assume people know what you want. Take the time and write up your wishes. Hell, why not take the extra step and complete a healthcare proxy, AND a living will (some states recognize one, some states recognize the other, it’s best to have both).

Do you have strong feelings about what happens to your body after your death? Do you want a religious funeral? A memorial service? Burial at sea or will you donate your body to science? The truth of the matter here is that you’ll be gone. You won’t have an actual say in what happens, but if you feel strongly, document your wishes and hopefully your loved ones will abide by them as much as they can.

You have a will right? RIGHT???? Yes? Good for you! Do the people closest to you know where to get a copy? Does it need to be updated? Hint if your will talks about custody of your children and the children are buying their first homes, it’s time for an update.

Wait, you don’t have a will? GET ONE NOW!! This isn’t about you. This is about easing the burden on the ones you leave behind. A loved one dying is a stressful situation. A will spells out what should happen to your assets and wordly belongings. If you are really feeling responsible (and I sincerely hope that you are), contact a lawyer and set up trusts that may ease the financial burden on your loved ones.

Speaking of finances, dying ain’t cheap. Depending on where you are in the country and what specifics you choose, cremation can start at $3,500. A full blown burial including a casket etc. can start at $10,000 and go up from there. Got life insurance?

I’m not a lawyer or a financial expert, but I’ve seen it where the estate is settled with relative ease and the family can focus on grieving the loss of a loved one and I’ve seen it when the lack of documentation nearly caused financial ruin for those left behind. Don’t be the jerk that leaves behind a mess. Get your house in order. Losing you will be hard enough for your family and friends. Don’t make it worse.