We All Go Through It

Okay, no one wants to talk about it.  We all try to ignore it.  But, uhm, we all go through it, and that is death.

I just returned from my former mother-in-law’s funeral.  She is buried just a few feet from my son, Josh. (www.joshuahucklebridge.com)  She did live a long life…she was in her late eighties, when she fell a couple of weeks ago and broke her hip.  They took her to surgery and she did well, except the next day her heart flat-lined twice.  They revived her, but then her kidneys failed.  Finally, her family had to instruct the doctors to take her off life support.

My mother’s fear was that she would go through something like that.  A few years back, as we drove back from Austin to see my daughter’s family, she said, “I do NOT want to live as long as my aunties!”  (She had one who lived to be 102, I think)

I was driving, taking in her meaning. “Mom, how can you control that?  None of us knows when our time will come.  What are we going to do, move to a ‘right to die state like Oregan?'”

She shook her head and repeated, “I do not want to live that long.”

I keep remembering that conversation when I visit her in the assisted living home now.  She is immobile, incontinent, and discontent.  I ache for her, because I know the capable, bossy, nurse, and mother she was.  It breaks my heart to see her in the condition she’s in.

No one knows how it is going to come.  But it will.  My son, Josh, was not planning to die on February 27, 2011.  But he did…in a fiery plane crash with three of his friends and associates.

Those high school students in South Korea that were aboard the ferry that sank today had no idea today might be their last.

It happens.

What then, should we do?

  1. Say what you need to say to the people you love.  Make sure they know how much you care.  I will never forget the last text message and phone call from my son, “Mom, I love you!”
  2. Make sure your affairs are in order. I am working through an excellent guide that I highly recommend, called Graceful Farewell.  Here’s the link: http://www.agracefulfarewell.com/
  3. Make sure your will, powers of attorney, and DNR are current, and your heirs know where to find them. (I can’t believe I did not insist my son have a will intact before he made his “Indiana Jones” trip to Pakistan and UAE.  I cannot tell you what a pain it was to have to manage his affairs.  Insist that your adult children have wills!)
  4. Live EVERY day as if it could be your last…you just never know.  Smell the roses.  Dance.  Laugh.

I know…who wants to talk about this stuff?  But I have faced multiple family members and friends who never thought it would happen as soon as it did.  Just do the work now, and when it does happen, you can go forward in peace.


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