Pull Up the Hearse and Let Them Smell the Flowers
HAVING WORKED WITH HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES, I KNOW THAT MOST INDIVIDUALS WANT TO PREPARE AND PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES THE BEST THEY CAN. HOWEVER, ITS OFTEN THE UNEXPECTED THAT FAMILIES ARE SOMETIMES RELUCTANT TO PLAN FOR. SADLY, THIS RELUCTANCE RELATES TO WHAT IS NEARLY GUARANTEED: LIFE RARELY GOES HOW WE PLAN.
My life is a testament to (I hope) many things. One of the many legacies that I hope to leave behind is not an easy one for me to claim however, needless to say, this one legacy I own because of my experience. Simply put, my life is in part a testament to the notion that life does not go always as we plan. As someone that has worked with special needs families for a number of decades, not only do I have my own experience as my guide, but I have the collective wisdom of hundreds of other families as well. Many of them would agree: life does not always go as we plan.
Why, then, are so many families reluctant to engage in end-of-life planning in this same fashion? The other day, I was speaking with a young man that is a friend of Dignity Group. He is having his third child this coming August. He’s in his early thirties and he’s quite ambitious. He thinks he has his whole life (and potentially the lives of his children) mapped out for him. Many of us that have children ourselves can look at such a young man with an experienced grin and say, This guy will learn the hard way that things don’t always go as planned! One of the facts of life is that we are not in control of everything. This is a hard message to deliver to others though, isn’t it? Needless to say, we nearly always want the best for ourselves and those we love.
Quite similarly, are we being overly optimistic about the rest of our life (and the lives of our family members)? While we may be accepting that death and dying is coming, do we have a tidy, clean idea about when and how that is going to happen? Are we ready for a situation in which our plan may come crumbling apart? Are we ready for the disruption and chaos? What if the planned caregiver gets sick? This is not a comfortable subject to consider.
What if you or your spouse needs special care in the years ahead? How does that change the existing picture of your plan for you and the rest of your family? All too often, it’s the parents and guardians of special needs family member that need care themselves. Who is going to take care of you if such a thing were to occur?
What happens when the operational manager of your family is incapacitated? Are you (and a long list of others) prepared to take up that role in such an eventuality?
What does a day in the life look like for your family? Who plays what roles within that dance we call a day? Who is prepared to take up each of those roles when an unpredicted circumstance arises? Who are the backup persons for those backup persons?
Consider, what do we believe is going to happen in the future? What happens when something else happens entirely?
It’s up to you to think about these difficult considerations, because if you don’t, who will?
Image Copyright 2015 Lightstock, LLC and is licensed by Dignity Group, Inc. and is used with permission. Photo is for illustrative purposes only. Any person depicted in the photo, if any, is a model.