Our journey with our aging parent has ended as we put our Dad to rest this weekend. The last several weeks for my sister and I have been very difficult for us because we found ourselves again dealing with the sudden onset of an ailing parent, but this time it was different. This time, my sister and I were better prepared for what was to come. You will never know when that moment will happen when you find your parent unresponsive on the floor or when you will receive that call that Dad is on the way to the emergency room so it will be important to be ready.
What does it mean to be ready? It means knowing where to find your key documents; your power of attorney and your parent’s healthcare directive. It means having their medication list, their ID and their medical insurance cards. It means being ready to make life sustaining decisions based on what your parent’s healthcare directive dictates. It’s not going to be easy, however, all of the preparations and planning will help you make clearer decisions as you navigate through this difficult time.
This time it was all very different than when our Mom passed away. When she was going to pass away, we were not prepared for it at all. This time we were thankful for taking the time to make better preparations for when the time came for Dad. This time during the days prior to his passing we took moments to talk about his final arrangements; even though we were hopeful that he would be coming home. We were so hopefully that we started talking about the home care plan for if Dad did pull through and make it home.
Please do not think that everything is always rosie between us as sisters. We are typical sisters. She and I are very different and don’t see eye to eye all the time. No matter how much planning and preparation is done on paper the one thing you cannot plan are the emotions of you and your siblings and the loved ones around you in this process. Facing the loss of a parent will push emotions to their limits. Each person is going to react differently and deal with the stressful situation differently but don’t let what happens one day affect tomorrow. This is not the time to start wars with each other because you will need each other once your parent is gone.
The time before your parent passes away may go on for days, maybe weeks or months which will take its toll on your well being. During this time it will be important for you to find that something to help you keep it together – it may be your faith, it may be speaking to a medical professional, what ever it is do it and be open to the kindness of strangers. We never know the reasons why certain people appear in our time of need- don’t question it, embrace it and be accepting of their help.
Although our journey has come to an end our mission lives on here at AgingParentsManagement.com. Our future posts and blogs will cover end of life preparations and issues as well as dealing with grief. This is all part of this journey with an aging parent or loved one. My sister and I are real. The issues are real.