Sunday, June 7, 2009


I went to see my parents yesterday--my usual weekend trip. On that day, I generally take them out for a little while to do errands or to go anywhere they feel like going. However, since my dad just came out of the hospital, and was clearly ill when he came out (though not as ill as when he went in), and also it looked like rain, I did not take him anywhere. He was weak, and all he wanted to do was to sleep. Obviously, this is not like his usual demeanor. His stomach was still bothering him, and this is troubling because my stomach is too. So I wonder whether this is the flu that I have passed along to him. Several of my students have been very ill. But besides the occasional stomach problem, which has persisted for over a week, a slight occasional nausea, I am fine. He had vomiting, a urinary tract infection, shortness of breath, congestion... but then he is 92.
My poor mom has not been out of the house since last week because she cannot go to the Center by herself. I do not trust the bus drivers to take her to the right place, and cannot afford the door-to-door service. If she were inadvertently left off in the wrong place, we would have lost her, since I doubt she would be able to articulate information that would help us to find her again. And she might walk right out of the Center and disappear.
All this tells me that if my dad goes first and she is left alone, I will have to find another living situation for her, where there are activities. She needs other people to talk to and things to do. I cannot provide all of this for her. The problem with that is that this sort of thing is very expensive, and our money will be cut back severely if dad goes first.
No wonder I feel anxious. I have been reading Lou's blog, in which she is intelligently making plans for her own future, and making decisions about who will inherit what. We own nothing, but I have not even made plans for my parents' deaths because I am afraid to spend money (lots of it) that we will need for the surviving parent's living expenses. Once the money is gone, it is gone. I can do nothing to replace it. If one of them died tomorrow, I would have a terrible time making hard decisions immediately because Jewish burials must take place within 24 hours of the death, under normal circumstances. This scares the hell out of me. I wish I knew what to do.


Lou said...

If my mother were still alive, Robbi, I could not choose cremation. She would have been opposed to this, and though she did not overtly impose her wishes on me, just the knowledge would have stopped me from even thinking of it.

I carried out my parents' burial choices because they made and paid for them before they died. They would not have expected me to pay. Caution with money was paramount to my parents because they worked hard for the little they had, and if I had made different choices based on cost, they would have agreed.

One of the things I realized when my parents died is that once dead, they were absolutely gone from the dailiness of my life, and it was all finally up to me.

You are a good person, decisions are up to you, you will live long after your mother and father are gone, and you must wisely think of the future of your family with R. and J.

Candice said...

It sound like you do all that you can. And what else is there to do?

I can only imagine what it feels like to be in your position. But i say-- don't pile on the apparent stress of the future with the stress you already have today. That is, "one day at a time."

Like with yoga, if you breathe and center and trust yourself, then you will know the right thing to do when it is time to do something.

Robbi said...

I don't want to choose cremation, Lou. But what sense would it make to spend all the money the remaining parent will need for living to pay the expenses of dying? None of this is paid for, and I'd like to pay for it now, but am, as I say, afraid to commit.
I have no money of my own to give. None for myself or R. or J. and none for them--just the money I got for their house, which I consider theirs, though it is in my name.
You are right Candice, but I have to do something to spare myself the difficulty coming up very soon. My yoga teacher, Denise, is always telling us what Patangeli--father of yoga--said: "The pain that lies ahead must and can be prevented." He could have been talking about this stuff too.