In today’s Dear Abby column, the writer is peeved that Mom is insisting her kids, who are in their late 20s, do end-of-life planning: wills, advance medical directives and power of attorney designations. The mother works as a certified nursing assistant for hospice, and she’s been assisting the terminally-ill for 16 years.
NEWS FLASH: If you are 18 years of age or older, you are legally considered an adult (even though you may not be able to legally drink until age 21). Not many people want to think about or discuss end-of-life, but this mother is thinking and acting prudently.
As I see more and more people in the obituaries who are younger than me, it really drives home the message that our mortality is inevitable. Better to be prepared and have to wait a long time to implement those plans than to be caught dead with no arrangements made or information on hand.
Here’s the letter and Dear Abby’s response:
DEAR ABBY: My mother is a certified nursing assistant for hospice and loves her work. She has been assisting the terminally ill for 16 years. I’m writing because lately she has become insistent that my brother and I complete our wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, etc.
My brother and I are in our late 20s and in excellent health. While I do agree that Mom’s advice is prudent, I have the impression that she views this issue — and our family — through the lens of her negative work experiences. Is there an appropriate time and place to discuss this matter? — LOOKING WAY AHEAD IN CHICAGO
DEAR LOOKING: Absolutely. How about tonight at the dinner table? The time to have these discussions — and put your thoughts in writing — is while you are healthy and thinking clearly. While I agree that what may be driving your mother are things she sees at work every day, the reality is that illness and tragedy can strike people of all ages at any time.
It’s important that family members hear what a person wants — or doesn’t want — should a situation arise in which that person is unable to speak for him- or herself. And it’s equally important for you and your brother to hear what your mother’s wishes are if you don’t already know.
Amen, Dear Abby! Have a Death Over Dinner conversation or attend a Death Cafe and talk it out today.