Mom died over 25 years ago. When I look back at that last year of her life, I see so many gifts she gave to her children and grandchildren. It was clear that she had put thought into how her dying would impact those she loved most.
That “D” word, even today, is one that most people try to avoid – almost as if not mentioning it will magically make death never happen. My mom was a planner and scheduler who liked to be in control, and that certainly didn’t change when she got her inevitably-life-ending diagnosis. She quickly gathered her children together (we were all “grownups” at the time but I sure didn’t want to be!), shared her news, and gave us direction. That afternoon is pretty much a blur at this point; it’s the emotions that I still feel.
True to form, we listened to Mum and did what she said. We called hospice (a pretty “new” thing back then) when the time was right; the funeral home was notified; we told her grandchildren. She went to Pierce Park again and rested in the warm air with her grandson bringing her the treasures he found. She wanted to go to Alaska, something she and dad had been planning and we even started to make the plans.
She reminded me that laughter is so important in the midst of grief, so much so that when I (oops!!) dropped her while helping her stand up she burst into laughter and kept me from bursting into tears!
There would be NO heroics like CPR. She wanted NO flowers sent or received when she died, “They would just die anyway!” Black attire was absolutely banned from her funeral. The pastor led that celebration of life under her direction, knowing what scripture, what references, what best way to support us all. And us kids and her beloved husband knew that somehow she was right there making sure it was all done just right!
Five Wishes hadn’t been launched back then. I just believe that Mum knew how important it was to make her wishes known.
Have you made yours?
If not, join me on April 16th from 2:00 – 3:00 in the afternoon, or 6:00 – 7:30 in the evening for “5 Wishes – Beginning the Conversation.” This free conversation will happen via zoom. Preregistration is required so that materials can be mailed or emailed to you before we begin.