Friday, February 26, 2010

the inevitable

We all know that eventually we will die.

There is no getting around this.

We do what we can to prolong our lives. We eat right, we exercise, we try to follow healthy lifestyles. Most do anyway.

(Some could care less and abuse their lives and bodies. Suicide is there as well.) That's another post!

Some people get lucky and seem to live great long happy lives. We have all seen the many Smucker people that get recognition for their 100th milestone on the Today Show.

That is why it is so strange to me when we are shocked of a death. I think it is more about a person being shocked that "They" will have to adjust to this loved one being out of their physical lives.

We are always surprised when a death is sudden, particularly with a young person. That is the hardest to understand. We are mostly saddened by our loss and the thought of not having the joy of seeing that young person get to experience life.

When a loved one has lived a long and happy life, I feel a sense of happiness. A relief for that person. Oh what a grand life. Imagine what they have seen & been able to experience.

When my Grandma Kitty died, I felt joy that I was Blessed to have had her in my life and for the life she was able to live. She was vibrate and brought joy to all around her. She wasn't terribly old though and I felt she still had so much to give. The pain of knowing I would no longer have insightful conversations with her, have a good belly laugh or to hold her close again was so hard. But, years have pass and she is still very much a part of me. I think of her daily and find myself thinking of what she would say or do if I was having a conversation, asking her opinion and I know I feel her presence.

Last week, my Uncle passed. Actually, he died somewhere between February 16th and 18th. He was 76, had several health issues and we all know it was a matter of time. BUT his cancer was being treated, and we were allude to believe he had several years.

The real problem of Art's death is his wife, my Aunt Nancy. She has been declining in health and has Parkinson's disease as well as Alzheimer's. Art has refused any help in her care and has been her sole health care provider. He seems to have taken good care of her physically. My uncle had alot of ...issues. He was always very controlling and full of alot of hatred. He has always been this way and for this, it was difficult to visit them. Scary to visit.

Concern for the inevitable didn't seem to sink in for him or really for the family. They tried. And I believe that they thought that plans were in place and it would not be quite the way it is.

Last Saturday, (2-4 days following Art's death), my Aunt was found in a crumbled mess at the bottom of the basement stairs. My uncle, deceased in their bed on the second floor. He must have realized that it may be coming. He had their driver's licences, important papers and such laid out on the table. Had been trying to finish their taxes, and left a door unlocked (something this gun happy man has never done before). Unfortunately, he did not make any phone calls to let anyone know he may be dying. We don't know how long Nancy was twisted on those basement stairs or how long he was dead. There is evidence that she was alone for some time prior to the fall. When they found her Saturday, and I saw her, I couldn't believe how she looked. I have never seen such fear in someones eyes. Days later, following her surgery, she is recovery well. She has a difficult time talking and her thought process is difficult (as it has for some time due to the Alzheimer's.) She needed to tell us what she knew. It was difficult for us, particularly her daughters, but she felt such a need to tell the story. Very heartbreaking. How she tried to wake him, tried to get him up. Not knowing what to do. Not remembering how to use a phone, or even go next door for help. It was a terrible scene.

I have been trying to help my cousins (whom all live out of town) get the arrangements made to bury their Father, and find the best care for their Mother. As well as decisions on the estate. Choosing not only a good fit but one that accepts their insurance. She will need to go into Rehab first then some kind of nursing home. When your family lives so far apart, what do you do? Where do you place your Mom? If she stays in Indy, she will have nieces, Brothers, Sisters to look after her. The daughters all live in different states...

Watching all this unfold has been so emotional and sad.

I told my sister & parents we need to sit down not just with a plan but a backup plan as well.

I am getting wordy and have so many ore thoughts in my head... BUT I must end for now as I have so much to do on this day I have taken off in preparation for addition out of town guest, and getting much necessary stuff done. (I also have to find an appropriate outfit for this big ass girl that has outgrown all her clothes!).

Let me end with this. One day you or a loved one will be in a similar situation as we are. What is your plan?
DON'T put it off. It is so emotional and difficult. The funeral home alone can make you feel so guilty in your choices. The rock bottom no thrills 1 hour service for my Uncle tomorrow is costing over $12,000.00.

footnote* The beautiful photo is of National Cemetery in Alexandria Virginia. This photo was taken by Brooke Young Used with permission. Thank you Brooke!


JC said...

I am so sorry that this happened. Funerals are too expensive. Thus, my family has done cremation with only a small viewing. Costs a lot less.

Sometimes when both parents are still around it is hard to get them to make decisions. To have one of their children be on paperwork etc.

I was lucky and after my Dad past away we were on all paperwork with Mom. Thus, when she past it was easier.

Linda said...

This is very sad to read and I'm so very sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Thankfully, my parents are very prepared and organized people and everything has already been done and paid for, for years. As to who should care for people, in my not-so-always-humble-opinion, children should care for their parents. Period.

This is why I chose to live where I live. One way or another, we make it work. My parents live next door and I will care for them, for all the days of their life. No excuses. This is how it's done in a lot of European families and it's what my Dad did for his parents as well. He is my example. :)

As for the death part, that realization NEVER comes easily for me. I'm never ready for anyone to go, regardless of age. Yet, I do my 3 mile walk every work day through the campus cemetery and it's my favorite place to walk, while the majority of people seem to shun cemetaries, because they don't want to think about the inevitable. Instead, people continue with their all-too-busy lives acting as if they're invincible.

I will keep you in my prayers this weekend as you organize and prepare to deal with this. ♥
Love and blessings,

Ziongirl said...

Oh Janis.....What an emotional time for you. When these events take place it certainly does encourages us to "get things in order". It's not ever something I want to leave for my children to sort out. God Bless you ...and you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers
Love ya..Brooke

Fire Byrd said...

It has to be said that although I miss my parents a great deal I am spared that lose of independance and mental slowdown as they were both relatively young when they died.
However my Uncle is now getting infirm and his wife has just been admitted for pallitive care. His daughter lives in America and is coming over next week.
My sister and I live in the next town to him, but he hasn't had a lot to do with us since dad died. Think we may well be getting involved very soon as his daughter will have to return to the States.
So family differences will have to be put aside and care given, as it's family.

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