“I had two opposite experiences with my parents; bookend stories regarding their end of life planning. My Dad was never one to discuss much, ever. Very old school but a real softie. He sold the family business and was going to fill many retirement hours playing golf. That changed when he opened the car door into his “good” eye one day going out with a friend to lunch. He could not see well enough to hit the balls much less see where they landed. He could not complete his dream of what retirement was to be for him. In turn, he wasn’t as active, and slowly declined. Looking back there were signs but the lack of activity sped up the process of what we later determined was Lewy Body dementia. He lived his last 3 years in assisted living as we watched him diminish, the light dimming in his eyes, his soul, finally coming down with pneumonia. He died peacefully in his sleep, never talking to us about how he wanted to live the end of his days.
For Mom’s side of the book end, she didn’t want to leave anything unsaid. She wrote her obituary years before she needed it, had a list of people she wanted me to call upon her death and had her OOH DNR posted on the fridge and in her bathroom. All things one could possibly have planned, Mom planned. She was living completely independently though got run down one holiday period by doing way too much for other people, as always. It was about 7 years ago when she came down with pneumonia. She was very tiny, a life-long smoker and had really lost the passion for life since Dad had died a little over 3 years prior. She was hospitalized, lost 21 pounds in 21 days, couldn’t eat and definitely did not want a feeding tube. She declined so much she could not recover and died within 3 weeks. She was at home and on hospice care those last 5 days as she wanted at the end. It was a true blessing to have had multiple meaningful conversations with my Mom over the last several years of her life and be able to close her last chapter the way she wanted it.”
Written by: Peggy Papert, Elder Care Consultants of Texas.
Reprinted by permission from: https://www.conversationreadyntx.com/stories
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