My father was always a very independent man. He owned his own businesses and did quite well financially. He made sure that my mother had her own financial security. He passed away before sharing any information with any of us about his financial standing, his wishes for burial, or my mother’s care. We did not know who was to be named power of attorney, executor of his estate, or any of the details of his business.
In retrospect, given the nature of his illness, we should have been more assertive about information, but growing up in the environment we did, that did not seem to be an option at the time. After purchasing burial plots for my father, and mother, meeting with lawyers and financial professionals and acquiring all the legal paperwork to assume responsibility for my mother’s well being, we remained in the dark about what the wishes of my parents would have been.
We used our best judgment, and luckily, were mostly in agreement about the care of our mother. It is four years later. She has lived with me, in two different assisted living programs, and is now in a nursing facility. I maintain the power of attorney and health care proxy for her.
I know, in my heart, that this is not the life that she imagined for herself. Unfortunately, we will never know what her wishes for herself, her house, and her property would have been. We never had the conversation.