| I actually did write a very big story on the entire process. It was my way to have some closure and documentation for my son. Time has passed and now I see things differently than I did immediately after my parents’ deaths. As an only child, I quit my job and flew back and forth across the country to move both parents into assisted living. My mother refused to make a decision and didn’t want to leave her house, but also wouldn’t accept help to keep her in it. My dad was already in rehab in a nursing home, straight from the hospital. He never came home again. I tried to have the talk to honor their wishes, but my mother wanted none of it. My dad was mentally beyond it once he was in the nursing home. He did say that he didn’t want to move to where I lived. That would have made my life easier. I regret that I did not take care of my parents in my own home. It would have been closure for me. It hurt that they continually refused to live with my husband and I.
It was an exhausting and expensive time juggling my life at both ends of the country. Frankly, I have been depressed ever since their deaths. I would like a “do over” with a better outcome. I wish I had known more about their early lives, their family histories. I am left with boxes of photos that I have no corresponding story to go with. From my experience, I would encourage families to have the talk. I think the caregiver benefits the most from having all the questions answered ahead of time; instead of flying by the seat of her pants during an emotionally charged event. Our son says we will do better and be more honest with each other than my parents were with me. Each generation seems to be more open to discussion. Perhaps from their experience with their own parents.