YOUR PARENT'S MORTALITY

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2008 10:37 PM GMT
    i hate to bring a dark cloud over all you rays of sunshine, however, i have a serious question. my mom called me the other day to tell me she found a lump in her breast. she's a retired r.n., so her demeanor can be a little blase about medical issues.

    she's having an ultrasound this week and has decided regardless of the outcome she's having the lump removed.

    this comes on the heels of my father's alzheimers diagnosis last year.

    my parent's have been married for 51 years.

    they are certainly no spring chickens, however all this medical news has given me pause. for the first time in my life, i've actually started thinking about them dying and what it will be like without them around. they live 10 minutes from me and we have dinner together almost every sunday.

    i suppose what i'm asking is if there is any real way to prepare for all that... any advice?
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 07, 2008 11:38 PM GMT
    There is no way to prepare for that eventuality. I went through 12 deaths in a 10 month period and I can say it only felt easier because I just numbed out after the first 3.

    I can't imagine a time in my life without knowing that my parents will be there. I haven't lived near them for 8 years, and I never will live near them again (they live in THunder Bay and there's no way I'd end up spending the rest of my life there) but despite that, we're very close.

    It's something I know is going to come eventually, can't really stress out about it until it happens though. Really, there's no point in that, you'll just make yourself crazy. Just make sure they have all their affairs in order to lessen the burden afterwards.
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Apr 07, 2008 11:42 PM GMT
    Funny this topic is coming up, this has been on my mind for a while.

    It's definitely something I think about and worry about the day(s) it/they happen(s).

    I don't think there's anything you can do to prepare for it. But, I think it's good advice to make sure everything is in order just so it's easier on everyone.

    Sorry about the Alzheimer's (and lump), that's certainly one of the most frightening diseases for me.

    Good luck.
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    Apr 08, 2008 12:31 AM GMT
    I'm sorry to hear of your parents' diagnoses and I hope that things turn out for the best. One thing you can do to prepare for life's eventualities is to listen to those old ladies you see in passing, that see the vulnerability and strength in you.

    They are silently speaking to you and advising you with a wisdom that you probably won't experience, even from your own mother. They are your guardian angels. They watch you with your mother, on the street or in a restaurant and they nod approvingly.

    They are telling you "you're a good son, and you can be a strong son too."

    I grew up in a close knit community ruled by powerful and graceful matriarchs.

    One year, for Mother's day, I gave to my mother a coffee table book called "Crowns: Portraits of Black Women In Church Hats." This book is a photographic essay about the lives of our "Queens" and the "crowns" they wear. I really bought that book for myself to learn, by "remembering what I already know."

    May this image provide you with some of the comfort and security I've derived from it.

    Black-Women-in-Church-Hats.jpg

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    Apr 08, 2008 12:59 AM GMT
    I'm dealing with my Mother-In-Law and my Parents right now and I agree - it's not easy! The emotional is difficult and I rely on family and friends for support. Then there are the practical items that no one wants to talk about but are important to do. Following are a couple that I am reviewing with my Parents.

    1. Have a will prepared by an attorney that is clear and concise. Make sure everything is spelled out - especially how any money or posessions are being distributed.
    2. Investigate cancer and critical illness insurance.
    3. Investigate long term care insurance.
    4. Prearrange your funeral.

    I know they sound kind of depressing - but I would rather make the decisions myself (or have my Parent's decide for themselves), and have everything taken care of rather than putting the burden on my family.

    Good luck!
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    Apr 08, 2008 3:40 AM GMT
    Ironic, I live in CA and I'm in PA now visiting my dad who's dying of bone cancer. He's literally wasting away in front of me and there's nothing I can do. My mother died of Alzheimer's and so both have had to deal with very slow deaths. There was nothing to prepare me for what I was to experience. I pray that test is negative and that she's able to resume her normal routine. Support and love is what she needs now and she'll need later if it turns out to be cancer. Be strong but don't be afraid to be open and a participant in all of what they are dealing with. Keep up to date with what they are doing.
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    Apr 08, 2008 3:44 AM GMT
    My mom had a bout with breast cancer a couple of years ago and has so far overcome it and looks to be doing well.

    My dad died of cancer after battling it for almost four years. About that I'll say this. It wasn't easy when he passed away, but I think I prefer having four years to prepare rather than lose him suddenly to a heart attack or a car wreck.

    It doesn't make the emptiness of the absence any less, but at least for me, I had done my mourning over the span of four years. When he finally did pass away, it was almost cathartic. That's a common feeling for the family that loses someone to cancer.

    I don't know if there is any way to prepare other than what you've just stumbled upon. You're realizing that they are in the sunset of their life and possibly won't be around for too many more years.

    Just live every moment with love and be with them as much as you can.
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    Apr 08, 2008 3:50 AM GMT
    Global_Citizen saidMy mom had a bout with breast cancer a couple of years ago and has so far overcome it and looks to be doing well.

    My dad died of cancer after battling it for almost four years. About that I'll say this. It wasn't easy when he passed away, but I think I prefer having four years to prepare rather than lose him suddenly to a heart attack or a car wreck.

    It doesn't make the emptiness of the absence any less, but at least for me, I had done my mourning over the span of four years. When he finally did pass away, it was almost cathartic. That's a common feeling for the family that loses someone to cancer.

    I don't know if there is any way to prepare other than what you've just stumbled upon. You're realizing that they are in the sunset of their life and possibly won't be around for too many more years.

    Just live every moment with love and be with them as much as you can.


    G_C, Nicely put and very much my feelings. I could not agree more, nor could I have said it any better. Thanks for sharing that, it's good advise and comments.
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    Apr 08, 2008 3:54 AM GMT
    i'm terrified of all this, not because i fear death, but because i've never had to contend with much of it, and i don't know how:

    i'm 32 and i still have 3 of my 4 grandparents. all are well, and will be around for years more probably. my mom and dad are still busting ass. i've never lost a close friend, only acquaintances. i've never lost a lover. i've never known anyone who died of hiv/aids...

    i feel completely naked against this type of grief. i can hold my own in many other ways, but i don't know anything about death.

    i wish i could do or say something to put your mind at ease.
  • liftordie

    Posts: 823

    Apr 08, 2008 3:59 AM GMT
    i guess i am one of the lucky ones. my dad is gonna be 77 this year and my mom will be 75. they have been happily married for 57 years this coming july. they still hold hands everywhere they go. they show no signs of slowing down and literally take each day as the blessing that it is!!!!!
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:01 AM GMT
    So sorry, man.

    Prepare the legal stuff ASAP. Siblings? Help them come visit too.

    It's so great that you get a chance to visit your parents so frequently. Keep that up...you'll not regret it!

    Some in-laws of mine kept going on about how busy they were before grandma died, but when she did finally kick it they acted the most grieved..what a great show they put on at the funeral. However, everyone who spent time with her up until her last was calm, at peace and happy for her.

    Moral: it's best to cry with your mom and dad while they're here, and share in their pain. Watching the criers at their funeral(s) when they pass will make you furious.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:02 AM GMT
    Both my parents died, I was with them both at the end holding their hands. What ever happened at the last seconds of their lives, it was something wonderful.
    I'm not afraid anymore and I only grieve for myself because I miss them.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:09 AM GMT
    Coming face-to-face with mortality certainly brings about profound changes. It's interesting that in our modern society, many of us never have to face it until late in life. Other people face it quit early. I wonder just how much of a difference that makes in a person's outlook.

    The other side of it is dealing with parents who can no longer take care of themselves. For example, I fear that I am soon going to have to take a more direct role in my mother's life, which is going to mean a huge reduction in my own perceived freedom for the next 10 to 30 years.
  • stevarino7

    Posts: 149

    Apr 08, 2008 4:17 AM GMT
    I think on a positive note, 51 years together is an amazing accomplishment. Something that can be truly admired.

    Sorry to hear bout the sad news. Though with all negatives, there are still positives that can be focused on to make it a little less hard.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:43 AM GMT
    hey guys!!! thanks for all your thoughts and help. this at least gives me a starting point in dealing with whatever happens. i really appreciate it. though i know i'm not the only person to go through this, it helps to hear others' stories of courage and strength. thanks again. you guys rule.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:47 AM GMT
    While prior preparation is probably very good, the emotional impact is still there and very strong when the person actually dies, and nothing you can really prepare you for that.

    Your mother's background may or may not make her blase, but I think we often tend to try to phrase such things in as normal, or benign, terms as possible -- some form of denial? But at any rate it all is part of living, and often living more profoundly than before.

    All in all, losing a parent is a very surreal, or is that real?, experience. I don't know, but at least to me there was an overarching mundaneity, and the sense of the everyday or normalacy of the event, justaxposed against the finality of death and the physical body being taken away.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:52 AM GMT
    I don't fear death... I've never feared death. I've certainly dealt with my share of it and then some in my life. I wasn't really affected when dad died... he and I were not close at all, and I was much more focused on getting mom through it.

    My biggest fear, though, is losing mom. She'll be 71 this year, doesn't look a day over 50, and she's fairly healthy... but, she does have a few health issues. With me living up here in Chicago and her down in NC, it's very difficult to get enough time off from work (and enough money at the same time) to make the trip down to see her, and that bothers me tremendously. Mom and I have always been close, and while she may be around for another 20 years, I know she also may not be... and my fear is that her time will come and I will have missed spending this time with her.

    As to how you prepare... I don't think you can ever truly be prepared. You can and should get all the legal stuff in order, gather the family around, hope for the best and brace yourself as much as you can for the worst... and make sure you've got a support system in place... like friends, etc... so you'll have someone there to hold you up when it does happen.

    I hope it all turns out for the best...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2008 4:57 AM GMT
    I hope your Mom's ultrasound comes back negative, and I hope your Dad's condition is as good as possible.

    I know it is hard watching our parents and grandparents get older and eventually pass on. I had grandparents and even great grandparents for so much of my life. My parents are still with me - 79 and 73. I'd say just enjoy them all - as much as possible - and it helps me personally to know they go on to a really great place and I'll see them again someday.

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    Apr 08, 2008 6:45 AM GMT
    I really don't want to think about it. icon_confused.gif
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    Apr 08, 2008 1:17 PM GMT
    Wills/trusts, living wills, life insurance and annuities are important matters to look into. Especially for a gay couple.