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By Marsha Stiles 08 Feb, 2017

Reflections on the Finer Points of Estate Planning

          On November 5th my mother was born and on November 5th, 87 years later, she passed away. In her final years she lived near my oldest sister who had the unfortunate duty of placing Mother in a nursing home after several attempts at assisted living resulted in Mother breaking her face (literally) twice after falling on the sidewalk and fracturing her hip while in assisted living. No one prepared my sister for the animosity that Mother had for being “confined against her will.” After her last hospitalization Mother graciously thanked everyone at the hospital for their service and then turned to my sister and said, “Except her .”

          I am truly grateful that, for once, I (the youngest child and the black sheep of the family) was not the recipient of Mother’s wrath although I volunteered that my sister make me the scapegoat as I was not the one being seen on a daily basis. As family members assembled in preparation for Mother’s death I also volunteered to assist transporting people to/from the airport and some other odd tasks but was turned down as well. After Mother’s death, one sister made the funeral arrangements, another arranged for the funeral meal and yet another opened her home for the memorial service. As much as I wanted to participate and as much as I offered I was not afforded anything to do. Hence this note.

If you are entrusted with the honor of caring for someone, as you diligently leave no stone unturned remember: you may think you are doing a service by shouldering the burden alone but you may be excluding someone else from participating. So to, when making your own arrangements, consider writing a thank you note to the person caring for you at your worst to tell them how appreciated they are. And, if you happen to be that person, know that it is okay to feel conflicted. Often there is a sense of relief at one’s passing and a sense of guilt for being relieved. Finally, if you need help with the legalities, I will be there for you.

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By Marsha Stiles 08 Feb, 2017

Reflections on the Finer Points of Estate Planning

          On November 5th my mother was born and on November 5th, 87 years later, she passed away. In her final years she lived near my oldest sister who had the unfortunate duty of placing Mother in a nursing home after several attempts at assisted living resulted in Mother breaking her face (literally) twice after falling on the sidewalk and fracturing her hip while in assisted living. No one prepared my sister for the animosity that Mother had for being “confined against her will.” After her last hospitalization Mother graciously thanked everyone at the hospital for their service and then turned to my sister and said, “Except her .”

          I am truly grateful that, for once, I (the youngest child and the black sheep of the family) was not the recipient of Mother’s wrath although I volunteered that my sister make me the scapegoat as I was not the one being seen on a daily basis. As family members assembled in preparation for Mother’s death I also volunteered to assist transporting people to/from the airport and some other odd tasks but was turned down as well. After Mother’s death, one sister made the funeral arrangements, another arranged for the funeral meal and yet another opened her home for the memorial service. As much as I wanted to participate and as much as I offered I was not afforded anything to do. Hence this note.

If you are entrusted with the honor of caring for someone, as you diligently leave no stone unturned remember: you may think you are doing a service by shouldering the burden alone but you may be excluding someone else from participating. So to, when making your own arrangements, consider writing a thank you note to the person caring for you at your worst to tell them how appreciated they are. And, if you happen to be that person, know that it is okay to feel conflicted. Often there is a sense of relief at one’s passing and a sense of guilt for being relieved. Finally, if you need help with the legalities, I will be there for you.

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