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Amongst other things, this is a love story.... the theme changes occasionally... this year it is fitness and learning to love yourself.

16 April 2015

Now or Never. #atozchallenge Care for the carer.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.

Remember to care for the carers.  

Now or Never.

It was a bit of rush to organise Mum's Last will and testament. Her memory had become so bad she had bank accounts she didn't remember existed.

On my last trip to Melbourne over a year ago it was obvious that her decline was rapid. Her biggest concerns were securing a plot at the local, almost full, cemetery. It is the closest to home. A spot that was easy for Dad to find was important to her. She knew he would visit her grave everyday.

In her final months I waited for lucid moments to discuss her wishes and we discussed the future often. She preferred to believe she would live a few more years, and there were times she didn't want to think about the possibilities of not seeing her grandchildren grow into adults so we would change the subject.

It would have been easier some days to not talk about a future without her, her wishes for her belongings and how to manage her assets, but it would have been harder not to - once she was gone.

We called in a funeral parlour to discuss funeral arrangements, her wishes were simple and clear. We signed over bank accounts and she managed a legible signature on her Will.  

Some people never like to talk about their own mortality, in the end Mum knew it was important and welcomed the conversations but would make me stop when Dad came into the room. It was scary and caused a bit of distress at times, but it bought us a sense of peace too.

We talked openly about where she would prefer to die, at home or in a hospice. Talking about it was hard. Knowing what she wanted made it easier.

We could have chosen to never speak about it. 

Wishes and priorities change, but how are we to know if and when they change if we never talk about them.  

Life is short and guaranteed to end.  Talking about it takes the guess work out of it. Funerals are exhausting and expensive, it was definitely a bonus to be prepared. 

Now or never is a choice, never is just too complicated. 

Pulling outfits out of her wardrobe and asking "Now Mum which would you prefer to be buried in the green or grey dress?" wasn't easy. Knowing that she didn't care means I now, never have to live in doubt about decisions that had to be made. 


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  1. My parents made arrangements in advance for both of them, so at least it was easier when Mom passed to not have to make decisions at a moment's notice.

    1. It certainly makes the most difficult days easier.

  2. I think it is beyond beautiful how carefully you tried to honor your mother and her wishes! I pray this theme is cathartic for you and I know it would be a blessed help to anyone in a similar situation.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

    1. Thanks Barbara... I'm hoping the theme helps too :)

  3. Those sound really difficult conversations! You have been a wonderful daughter. God bless.

    1. They weren't the easiest conversations to have, but I certainly felt better for having had them

    2. and thank-you for your kind wishes and words

  4. Hi Ida - I can feel your feelings here and follow you along with these conversations. So very difficult .. but you seem to have handled it all so well - and she got what she wanted, and you were able to clarify things to make life for your father easier.

    Our mother hadn't left any instructions ... but we had 5 1/2 years to talk about it .. and on occasions I did - but only the basics ... as I could guess the rest and put those ideas to her - she agreed ... and I think was relieved there wasn't a discussion as such ... we just nattered and confirmed certain points ... so our conversation just flowed without worry. I do count myself very lucky ..

    So pleased for you though - this worked out in the end and satisfied the family ... cheers Hilary

    1. I guess my biggest worry was upsetting her and other members of the family, but many of our conversations just flowed too.