a reply to: kosmicjack
I write this because it may provide you with some piece of mind. What I'm about to tell you may come as a bit of a surprise. It's most likely not
what you think.
So, as you likely know, Mom passed away Sunday (Christmas Eve). She lived at a place where they had all the levels of elderly care from independent
living, to assisted living, to nursing home...and hospice. It wasn't cheap, but once you were in...you were "in".
Her and Dad originally picked this place so they wouldn't be a burden on the kids when they got older, which was a kind gesture on their part. They
moved there in their mid-late 70's, and it was just like a nice apartment complex. They were both still driving and physically were both in excellent
health. Not wanting to seem like they were picking a "favorite" child, they chose a location which was equidistant from all the kids (meaning it
wasn't close to any of us, from my perspective).
About 3 years ago in March Dad also passed away. He ran the full gamut of care - independent, to assisted, to nursing and then hospice. Of course
Mom was there to see the full transition. Mom was in excellent health both mentally and physically. Over time she had begun to slow down and
physically her health began to slip away (gradually). We tried to do things to make her more capable (like get her a scooter for example). NO WAY!!
Threatened to "disown" the first person who ever bought her one of those things!! "Once you get in one of those things, you never get out!"
was what she would say. Unbeknownst to us (the kids) there were also other (probably minor at the time) health issues she wasn't telling anyone
about. Those 'minor' health issues would eventually grow into more significant issues, and then all gang up on her at once, ending her life in less
than a one week time frame. She never went to assisted care, or nursing home. She went straight from independent to hospice.
At the same time this was all going down, I spoke with a colleague at work who is in a similar situation with someone Mom's age. She's chosen a far
different path, which I'll get to in a moment. ...
I've learned a lot of things in the short time since Mom's passing, things I wish I would have known or been more emphatic about while she was alive.
I learned some things with Dad's passing, but more just a better understanding of the early signs and indicators of different health issues in
hindsight. With Mom it was different. There were no signs (or very few). The most important thing I learned with Mom, very quickly, was she was
100% aware of all the death occurring around her...and she was afraid of it (even though she swore up and down she wasn't). Her mom, my Grandmother,
lived to be 105 and lived completely on her own until 104. Mom was 93. Everyone on that side of the family (the women) have all lived to very old
age. We all figured Mom was no different. She clearly (and secretly) felt that way too. What became obvious afterwards was, she was in a form of
denial, not even being truthful with herself. One day she just didn't feel well and was having some "congestion". The next day she was in the ICU
with a good prognosis. The next day, she had "six months". The day after that she had "60 days". Later that same afternoon she had a prognosis of
"probably should get on an airplane right away if you want to see her alive again", in other words, hours. It was that fast. (pneumonia, congestive
heart failure and kidney failure).
So, on to my colleague whom I referenced earlier, who is also the executor of an estate.
- I probably should start a part II of this post, as I must be nearing the word limit