Sunday, July 15, 2012

2012.07.15 Planning End Times—Or Not

I’m taking a break from Israel because I need one for now. Too intense. Also, it’s Sunday—and in the simmering 90s, hotter than the hinges of hell they say. There is no hell and if there is it surely doesn’t have doors with hinges and knockers. 

I don’t think much about hell or heaven or death much—at all. Too intense and I feel too vital. But if I do I start to cry because I love life too much to die. 

Nevertheless, to be sensible, Dick & I made our first foray into planning ahead so our children won't have to make decisions for us when the time comes when we must live less independently.

We’d like to stay where we are as we age and we’ve picked out our hospital. City R us. 

A colleague wrote, Bravo to you both! She and her siblings had tried unsuccessfully to argue her parents out of retiring on one coast when all four kids were on the other. But........ “They had community and history, something that would have been missing in any of our four regions, and they could still come visit. So choosing a place that has other folk you like, if possible, is a solution that really has worked for them.  Now, of course, it means schlepping cross-country for each of us, repeatedly, but I suspect it's a fair price to pay for their contentedness.” 

So that’s our one plan. So what if we don’t have lots of friends here yet. No offspring has complained. Did we tell them all? At least none of them has to schlepp cross-country. Unless they move—their problem.  

So far I’m doing better than my mother, a must at all times. My sister and I had to make that nursing home decision for her. She acquiesced but......     I wished she’d planned or even said anything about it at all. Not a word, not  her style.

“So how is it here, Mom?” I finally asked imagining the worst.   “Oh, it’s not bad,” she said, then told me how she had a good woman friend. “Just my age. We sit in our wheelchairs and watch all the old men wobble by,” she laughed.

Mom didn’t seem fussed by the mushy tasteless food or the odors. She had no sense of smell, and doesn’t taste exit with that?  She actually seemed content.  Of course one of the staff let on that “Verbal abuse” was written all over her chart. 

The good thing about Mom was that she never made us feel guilty because she made a mockery of everything. She even showed off with pride all the Bingo prizes she’d won—a champ despite advancing macular degeneration.  I still have one of them, a little glass red heart. It’s so tacky I love it.

I urge planning ahead. It’s a control issue to laud. It’s also a loving thing to do. You’re also supposed to talk about all this with your children or someone.  All you need is a listening mutual conversation.

So far we’ve not talked about anything and have visited only that one place.