“By the way, I’ve been meaning to have a word with you, Mum,”
…..said my son as we travelled down to Birmingham together on the train,
He had asked me to meet him on this evening train and spend the weekend with them, but I knew something was on his mind.
“Oh dear” I think ” this is going to be one of “those” conversations”
With a sinking feeling in my stomach I smiled and said “Oh yes love, what about?”
What does he mean? does he think I am already getting ga-ga? I know I have been a bit forgetful lately, but I am not THAT bad!
Does he mean he thinks I am being selfish, taking that attitude because, he and his sister don’t like the thought of me going into a less than 5 star care home?
Or did he mean that he didn’t want me to spend all my money before that time came? because the burden might fall on him?
Or did he mean that he and his sister didn’t want me to go into a care home at all?
hopefully I will just die peacefully in my sleep in another 30 years, having been completely compus mentus till that day and continued riding my bike.
thinks……”all he women my family have all gone ga-ga in thier 80’s”
“Well anyway” I say brusquely “I have written it all down and it is in a large envelope in the wardrobe”.
Sensing my irritation, he changes the subject and we continue the journey to his house where I am visiting for the weekend and we go to bed.
But the conversation has disturbed me. It is one thing putting your will and funeral arrangements down on paper, but to actually discuss it, is a different matter, it becomes a possibility, the reality becomes nearer and I toss and turn a bit during the night.
The next morning I ask my daughter in law, what this is all about. It turns out that three of his friends have lost a parent recently and the friends had never had a conversation with the parent about what they wanted, which had upset the friends.
So we had “the discussion“ I told them how I felt about everything I felt from euthanasia to suicide to inheritance, to the cost of funerals ( as cheap as possible!) and I also pondered the question of care homes.
If I am really honest, I don’t want to go into any home.( does anybody?) My hope would be that one of them would take me in and look after me. But if course I know only too well how difficult that can be, how that can affect family relationships, marriages, jobs and children. How siblings can disagree about care for parents and how the burden often falls on one or the other. So of course I don’t want to be a burden.
On the train back home I pondered why this had upset me so much and realised that it brought back all the pain of having my mum needing care.
When I was their age, I never thought I would be able to care for my mum, but when the time came I just knew that I had to take my mum into my home and care for her in her last years.
I am not making any judgements about anybody else, everybody is different and people have to do what is right for them.
But also it made me aware of my own mortality and reminded me that one day, somebody else will be making decisions about my life!
Meanwhile……life is for living. three more sleeps till I go to the US.
Bring it on.
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