When we hear someone say, “We need to talk,” what immediately goes through your mind? If you are the parent of a pre-teen or teenager you may be thinking of “THE talk”, you know, the sex talk. If you are an employee, you may be concerned your boss may be ready to fire you. A boy may be worried the girlfriend is about to break up with him.
But there is one more talk you may not be considering. It is the “end of life” talk that each of us must have, must prepare for, must consider.
For the record, this is not meant to be a fear-mongering post. I know Whose I am. I know Who holds my family members. I know Who is in control even when I am not. I know where grace, peace, and comfort come from. I know that all things work together for good to God’s glory… even when I cannot possibly see how in the present.
Yet… Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is “appointed unto man once to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a reminds us: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.”
Facing difficult situations is much easier to do if you have planned. However, things do not always work out the way we plan, or rather, how we hope. All of this requires hard conversations with spouses, with adult children, with parents.
As parents, we have tried to make sure that we have thought ahead regarding the care of our son should the worst case scenario happen. When he was under the age of 18 we made sure that wills were in place for his protection. In planning, we learned that each state has different laws regarding the care of a minor child should both parents die. Each time we moved to a different state we updated the wills for the state in which we lived. Financial considerations had to be made. Custody decisions had to be made. No, it was not fun to be thinking about these things in our 20’s and 30’s but for the sake of our son, and to ensure that he was going to be cared for by the people we wanted to influence his life if we were no longer here, it had to be done.
As we have gotten older, we also realize that there are no sure things regarding our health. Despite the fact that we both had great-grandparents or grandparents live into their 90’s, we are not guaranteed the health that they had which allowed them to remain in their own homes until almost the very end.
Oh, Melissa, this is so morbid!
I used to think that, too. But, in fact, it is one of the most loving things we can do for our families. The last thing we want our son to do is to worry how to pay for our care or how to make decisions should we not be able to. We want to alleviate that burden from his shoulders.
Presently, I am in a season where I find myself as somewhat of a caregiver for my parents. When my mom’s health took a turn three years ago we quickly realized that even though my dad had prepared, his preparations and desires were not going according to his plan. After a year of three separate weeks’ long hospital stays and attempts of home health care, we finally had to place mom in a memory care facility for her health’s sake as well as my dad’s. This was not according to dad’s plan.
We also began to realize that his plans were too basic to protect either of them from utter financial ruin as healthcare costs were going to climb.
My dad has so aptly put it while changing his legal documents, “They’ve made dying so complicated.” It is true. There are many aspects today to consider that simply were not necessary even a decade or two ago. Over the course of the next several weeks I hope to share with you some of the information we learned and to provide you with a few of the resources we have found. If you have not begun to have these conversations with your spouse, children, or parents, now is the time to start.