I was 25 years old when my oldest was born. After 18 hours of labor, I was wheeled in for a c-section. On my way back to the operating room, my husband looked at me and asked what I wanted in case of an emergency.
For the man with a degree in Emergency Management, this question did not shock me, but what did scare me was this was the first time I had a moment in my life that something could ACTUALLY HAPPEN!
Also, this was not a great time to realize that we have nothing in writing, nothing prepared if something were to happen.
There is such a stigma around end-of-life, dying, death, passing away, dropping dead, any and all the phrases that one can come up with that are synonymous with your body no longer being present here on Earth.
So how do we break that and prepare for something we have not yet experienced?
Benjamin Franklin said it best: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes in this world.”
Every year we prepare for tax day. There are commercials for months, reminders on our calendars, and enough spam e-mails to choke a horse.
Why do we not do the same when it comes to end-of-life planning? We will all pass away one day; why is there such a stigma around that concept?
When Ton was first diagnosed, we sat down as a family and discussed “What Ton Said Goes” whether or not we agreed on the “what” he was stating.
Did we all have to bite our tongue a few different times? WITHOUT A DOUBT!
But, what I love even more is knowing now that Ton’s way made him happy, and that was worth the eye rolls.
One strange aspect of a terminal disease that is not discussed often is that you know the person is dying, you know you need to prepare, and you know you need to prepare for them, not here while they still are sitting a few feet away.
I was 35 weeks pregnant with Ashton when my mom, brother, and I walked into the funeral home that has assisted our family for generations.
We sat with the Funeral Director, who grew up with my dad and his seven siblings sharing stories from the past. The Funeral Director walked us through the process of planning Ton’s funeral and everything needed as we continued to prepare for his end of life.
As we were doing this, Ton sat at home with his full-time caregiver, knowing that the people he loved most in life were practicing writing about him for the first time in pasted tense, knowing that was about to become our new normal.
Knowing we had already answered all the questions, I cannot tell you how comforting it was after he passed away. We had discussed all the details in-depth and did not doubt any aspect of the end of life. The moments after he passed were for us to mourn and not in a logistical bubble, hoping you will not forget an important detail.
I had a flashback to my husband asking me, “What do you want in case of an emergency?” and realizing there is no wrong age to prepare. Emergencies happen DAILY; as a mom of two boys, I see too many close calls.
“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Now is the time we prepare for both of life’s certainties.
Kimberly Whiter, the CEO of Elder Care Solutions Inc., discussed the Benjamin Franklin quote during a meeting a few months ago when simultaneously we had a lightbulb moment.
Kimberly and I both have a history of caregiving, and both have been in situations where you questioned what you would do if you had moments to decide your future.
Elder Care Solutions Inc., and I-Ally Inc., were both created from knowing the struggles, the challenges, and the desire for someone to lean on as a young family caregiver.
We locked eyes in our simultaneous lightbulb moment (or locked cameras? Zoom Covid Life) and asked, “what if we created something to help others prepare?”
Elder Care Solutions Inc. and I-Ally Inc. collaborated, and Kimberly and I wrote an End-Of-Life Guide for Millenial Caregivers, and we cannot be more excited to share it soon with the world.
We have learned that there is no correct age to prepare for end-of-life, but that being prepared is extremely important.
We hope that we can all break the stigma behind passing away and enjoy having deep conversations with our loved ones.
Death does not have to be all doom and gloom, and preparing allows you to see the beautiful side of the circle of life.