Updated: Jan 1, 2019
I got absolutely NO SLEEP last night. Ever have an elderly relative that's not expected to survive through the year?...and of course what will be WILL BE; but you assume that when it does happen she's got it all worked out and all you'll need to do is just show up and mourn with the rest of the fam. Then she calls you and drops a BOMB..."Sally I don't have much time left and I need to discuss my arrangements and other things with you"....so you make plans to have that talk with her first thing on Monday but the night before you're up all night thinking the worse...you're thinking "omg what will I do with ALL THAT STUFF filling up her big haunted house? Who will help me go through all of her things? All those family pictures and furniture and what about the house itself? Am I suppose to sell it? And how will I break the news to her brother? (my dad). What will I do if she doesn't have life insurance? Does she have a Will or written instructions that authorize me to take care of this stuff? Who should I notify when she passes away?".... Then you start thinking about the planning that's involved and the fact that she's the only one left that can tell you about your ancestors and family secrets. You realize that you really enjoy talking to her...those long chats on the phone, her visits during the holiday season. Even at her old age (she's almost 100 years old) she still tells naughty sex jokes! Just shameless! She cracks me up tho LOL (I'm gonna miss that). Then next you realize that when it all goes down you won't even have time to mourn her loss with all the planning going on and Lord please let her survive long enough to get me all the answers I need! Her daughter Shirley died suddenly a few years ago and this was suppose to be her responsibility. I didn't realize I was next on the list. How did that happen? I didn't see this coming. You know...last year my husband encouraged me to have that talk with her but every time I had a chance to I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to sound like a greedy relative digging for money... or like I was assuming she was about to go any day now. So the bright side is at least she's giving me the heads up. I'll do whatever she needs. She's my favorite Aunty❤️💕 .
I've so far planned and carried out two family funerals. In 2008 my mother died and then in 2015 my brother David died. Unlike my aunty, when they died it wasn't something anyone expected. Mom was sick but she always bounced back so I didn't really believe she was going to pass away until her final days. We never got a chance to have "The Talk". As for Dave; well he was injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida just before Christmas 2014. He survived with a few broken bones and was even in good spirits upon his arrival at the hospital; flirting with the nurse and what not Lol; but later, while being prepared for surgery to fix his injuries, he ALLEGEDLY fell into a coma following a massive heart attack prompted by a shot he received from a hospital staff. They didn't revive him in time. They messed up....ALLEGEDLY. He died nearly two months later in early 2015. Again I was left unprepared. This time was even worse because I live just outside of Washington, DC and Dave was in Florida so I had to make all the arrangements from home and then get our family to Florida. In both situations I didn't know if there was life insurance or what their wishes were. There was no Will. I had to put myself through crash training and get things figured out so that a proper memorial service could be arranged. I was never happy with the way my mom's service was done. I would have done things differently if I'd known the things I know now. On the other hand, my brother Dave's service turned out great; but I had no idea how all the plans I made were going to be paid for until the day before the funeral. I mentally prepared myself and my other living brother, Mark, to come out the pocket and pay for this equally. I had to rely on faith, donations and information I collected from his awesome friends. Thank God everything turned out alright but I'm still without my mom and brother.
Okay...so I admit that the photograph that I used on the header of this blog was a bit disturbing even for me! But I did it to get your attention and if you are still reading this then it must have worked. I want your attention because I think everybody needs to discuss life insurance and funeral arrangements with loved ones. Yes it's a very uncomfortable conversation for most people to have. Nobody wants to even think about the fact that parents and children die at an early age all the time. My mom was in her late 60's and my brother was in his early 50's. My step child's mother, who was just in her 40's, was killed a few years ago in a traffic accident. Nobody expected that either. There is no age requirement for death like there is for drinking and voting. I have several friends who are mourning the loss of their children who were killed in accidents or who died from health conditions that were unknown to them. I've learned the hard way how random and unexpected death can be at times but the best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to get our affairs in order now. Make sure you've designated somebody to take care of your funeral and burial arrangements as well as other affairs. Would you like to be resuscitated in the event that your heart stops? Trust me it's so much easier when instructions have been left. To date I still feel guilty about letting my mom go because my faith says that God can bless us with a miracle! The Doctor's convinced me that it was the best choice. I wouldn't have to live through that guilt if I'd known what she would have wanted.
Talking About Sex Won't Make You Pregnant. Talking About Death Won't Make You Dead
To everyone reading this I encourage you to make time to sit and have this talk as soon as possible. Tomorrow isn't promised. My aunt is nearly 100 years old but I'm fully aware that today could be MY last...Who says I won't go before she does? This might be my final blog post. Then tomorrow it could be "RIP Sally b...I'm gonna miss all your blogs and snapchats 😩" ... but seriously please have that talk with your family ASAP‼️ I encourage you to share this blog with everyone you know.
In closing I've included a few links and info for you to read that may help you get the conversation going. Feel free to add more helpful links, suggestions or comments in the comment area below:
(This blog was revised on August 31, 2016 to include Aunt Cordelia's Audio.)