My parents have always been very organized people. When mom developed health issues in her 40s, I think she realized that there would be challenging times ahead. Despite a myriad of illnesses, mom made the most of life and saw us through graduations, weddings and great times with dad, including travel all over the world. Several years ago during a challenging period, our parents sat us down and explained in detail how they both would like us to handle health care issues should they be incapacitated. They even spelled out funeral arrangements down to the readings and music. At the time, I was very put off by the discussion because it seemed like mom was giving up. Quite to the contrary, it seemed to provide a new level peace and energy to enjoy the years she had remaining. When she passed away this week, it was profoundly sad but in many ways also like finishing a really enjoyable book where you feel a sense of satisfaction. We were able to spend time with her at home at the end with no discomfort and plan her memorial with minimal effort so we could focus on my dad and spend time as a family enjoying good memories.