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 got so bad she even 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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