That’s what Grandma always said. I think she picked that up from Ben Franklin. Actually, all of my Grandparents had repeated that quote. They filled me with as much info as they could, while they could. I’m so grateful.
I promise – this is NOT a sad post ! Keep reading.
So, as it’s April 15th and my Hubby and I have reconvened with the accountant one last time and filed our statements to Mr. Government Man, I’ve thought about that other part of the famous phrase. You see, a little more than a month ago I found myself in the ER with my Mother, surrounded by a dozen staffers asking questions. Most of which I had answers to, but one of the first ones was “Who has Power of Attorney and is there a Living Will?” Even though I was confident in knowing what my mother has in mind, I had to answer “No?, but I’m the eldest Daughter.” They were glad I was there, but would really have liked a ‘yes’ to that Living Will question. In hind-sight I now know why. That makes things much easier for everyone involved. There’s no guess work or family in-fighting. They just do as they’re told – by the patient.
That was a long day, and evening, and after all was said and done Mom will get her treatments and be fine, but that episode did present some questions that I think I should advise everyone to have a conversation, with the people they’re closest to, about.
I thought I knew everything about Mom – turns out I didn’t. I thought there was some family plot back in PA with her name on it, or something like that. Nope. Wow, without that simple conversation, I would’ve screwed the whole thing up ! Not that she’d have minded, but , well… you know. And it’s not that there’s a ton of personal belongings to spend money for a Will to divide up – no, no Family Trust here – sorry kids. But that simple form, that I ultimately picked up right there at the hospital, might as well be her very own Ten Commandments. Two pages, plain and simple – what do you want, how do you want it, who do we need to know…and my favorite ” Quality of life is important to me. These are the things that give my life quality: “ What a bold inquiry – one that needs to be made.
Even though I joke with my Husband that he can “Part me out and burn what’s left.” that’d be harder to deal with than you’d think. After reading ‘Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers”, and odd, but quite good book, I’ll think twice about donating my body to science. Then there’s the whole Organ Donation deal (which is NOT on my DL – but my next-of-kin know how I feel). I don’t like to think, in my mid-40’s, that I’m really that old yet, but I still remember having to watch the Terri Shiavo horror story play out in the media for years – and she was young. With no Living Will, it all got very, very ugly.
Do your loved ones a huge favor – get one of these and fill it out. Don’t worry, if you join some crazy religious cult next month, you can change it. It’s not perfect, but few things in life are. The Hospital Registration desk had them, and there’s a website on the form too. (www.projectgrace.org) You don’t even need a Notary. Give a copy to your Doctor, your Lawyer, your local hospital, and hide one in the house (after you tell someone where it is) along with that ‘If I Die’ letter you need to write. Do NOT put it in a safe deposit box ! That’s the LAST thing the Probate Court will probably open – 3 years later! And don’t leave as a file in your computer either. Just fold it up and sock it away in that Bible you keep somewhere. Yeah, I know you’ve got one,…even if it’s one The Gideons left for you.
(I promise, I’ll post something happier next time – maybe involving chocolate,…. or rum,…. both things way worth listing on that ‘Quality of Life’ section!! )