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Closure.org Blog

The Wisdom of My Elders

By Adam Conway

During the past year I have had the opportunity to say goodbye to my father’s mother and my mother’s father.  They each died peacefully in their homes with family standing by, and I felt lucky to speak to them in their last hours.  From their perspectives, a long, fulfilling, and successful life was at its end.  My Grandfather had served in World War II, opened and maintained a successful business, and raised a family.  My Grandmother, just months shy of 100 years old, had seen more changes in the world than I can begin to understand. 

Despite the fact that each of them had been aware for many years that they would likely pass on soon, they each had chosen to communicate with my generation in a way that glossed over illness and frailty, although when I asked my grandma for advice last year, she said “Don’t get this old! Then again, I don’t much care for the alternative!” 

This was really the only clear opening I had to speak about her wishes for the end of her life, and my feelings about it, but of course like most of us, and particularly young people, I was unprepared to have such a discussion.  I regret this, of course, and should have trusted her to help me through it.  At the time of her death, she had more experience with loved ones dying than anyone else I knew, since she had long outlived almost everyone she knew, and could have been a wealth of knowledge on the subject.

This experience has made me aware of the need to learn about the options that are available and for planning in advance, both for myself and my family members.  Despite the emotional difficulty of such discussions, I realize now that I must take advantage of the wealth of information held by people like my grandmother: wise people who have had more experiences than I can possibly imagine. 

Written by robots= on September 1st, 2011 at
Tagged with: advance planning, planning in advance