Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Discussion of Death

Last night, on my way to girls' night in with the ladies, I started to have a thought. If my mother got as sick and unable to take care of herself as her mother did, would she want to come stay with me and/or my sisters, would she want to go into a home (and if so, which one?), or would she want to remain in her own home? While the question was fresh on my mind, I rang her phone, but she didn't answer, so I made a mental note to ask her later.

While with the ladies, I asked them if they too had had made arrangements, or if they at least had a clue what their parents final wishes would be. They all looked at me as if I had a touched on something that is supposed to remain unthought of. They all pretty much said "No!" in that way of suggesting that they had no intentions of discussing the demise of their parents.

Perhaps its the fact that we watched our mother watch her parents grow old, that let me and my sisters know that we should have a plan in the worst case scenario. I remember that Terri Schiavo case, and her parents' plea to keep her alive, and her husband's plea to pull the plug already. During that time, my mother and I had a casual conversation about in the case of either of us being in that state, we'd prefer to pull the plug. I pretty much said that if I was out for more than a couple of weeks, it was okay to let me go. Now that I have the little one here, I'd want them to give me more than just a few weeks to see if I'll make it, but I sure as hell don't want to be hooked up to a machine for years on end. I've always said that if I couldn't enjoy walking through the grass on a summer morning and feeling the fresh dew on my feet, then it was okay to let me go. I agree with my moms, none of that vegetable stuff for me. Let me go to meet my maker already.

So anyway, my girlfriends think it's too morbid to discuss the worst case scenario with their parents. Well of my girlfriends, one is an only child, so at least she won't have to fight with a sibling over arrangements, another has a sibling, but she's the more steady of the two, so she'd be in charge, another friend has a sister and they're both pretty stable, and then there's me with a sister in New York, a sister in Japan, and me in Atlanta. And mom is in Orlando, Florida. As diverse as my friends' situations are, we all NEED a plan.

Of the crew of homegirls, I'm the youngest at 29, but the oldest is 31, so realistically, we're all dealing with aging parents. They may not be elderly or using canes, yet, but we all know the time is coming. As a matter of fact one of my friends was complaining about throwing out her back 3 times. If she's throwing out her back at her age, imagine what kind of stuff our parents must be going through.

So anyway, I'm encouraging people to discuss things with their parents already. I know that many people don't like to think about their own mortality, but it's inevitable. We're going to die, it's a fact. Black people are especially bad about not making plans for the end. Loved ones need to know how you want your money divided, whether you want to be buried or cremated, and who gets what. So YES, I feel quite comfortable asking my mom about her final rest, it avoids conflict and speculation between me and my sisters down the road.
By the way, she told me that she wants to stay in her own home, with the occasional help of a nurse.

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