This post is sponsored by Decide. Create. Share. a free seven-step program created by AARP to help women take charge of their futures.

168800811“Just get a gun and shoot me.”

That’s what my mother told me I should do when she got too old, and/or too sick, to make her own medical/legal/financial decisions.

I laughed it off. Because really what else are you supposed to do when your mother calls you up out of the clear blue sky and tells you to shoot her when she gets old?

The thing is though, I sincerely think now this actually sounded like an actionable plan to my mom.

The notion that I would shoot her when she got old likely played well to my mother’s sense of dramatic whimsy.

I can see the scene in her head now.

Her, an old woman, frail, but holding her last remaining shards of dignity like a shawl, sitting by a window as the raindrops pelted the glass, because, of course, it would be a rainy day for added dramatic effect.

Me, with a Glock, face worn with worry and concern, but resolute in the knowledge that I was fulfilling my final sacred vow to my mother.

The gun goes off.

The old woman falls gracefully to the floor with just a hint of a cat-ate-the-canary smile on her face.

The police come for me, but I laugh in their faces content in the knowledge that I’ve done my duty to my mother by keeping my last solemn promise, like a good daughter should

Fade to black.

Chloe in Jail

Yeah. despite the fact that I’m too pretty for prison, I’m pretty sure that’s how it went in her head.

They Shoot Horses and Old Ladies, Don’t They?

At the time my mother said this her own mother was becoming increasingly infirm. I was sure that her phone call to me had more to do with my mother’s frustration and sense of helplessness over her mother’s situation than any true violent tendencies, but it was a disturbing conversation between a daughter and her mother, nonetheless.

It is a conversation that I would remember many times, especially after my mother did get sick. And while I didn’t fully perceive it at the time, the whole thing speaks to the deeper issues that would end up pervading my relationship with my mother in her final years. Specifically, her unwillingness to face up to reality and make any sort of reasonable end-of-life plans or decisions for herself, and the fact that she was going to leave it all up to me.

It’s onto the ice floe with you, Mom

And thus, with this disturbing phone call sometime in the 1980s, our dance of denial began between my mother and me. Over the years, whenever I tried to talk to her about long-term planning, or end of life decisions, she’d quip, “I already told you, ‘Just get a gun and shoot me.'”

Unfortunately, when she did get sick, and unable to make important decisions for herself, she wouldn’t sit still long enough so I could.

End of Life Planning is Another Way to Take Care of Those You Love

Now you’d think that with a history like that I’d be on top of this for myself. But I’m not. I haven’t done one. single. thing. to plan for myself.

I have great reasons. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I’m very busy.

2. I’m still young.

3. I’m still healthy.

4. I’m very busy. (Yes, this one gets on the list twice, because I am, in fact, very, very busy.)

5. It’s too depressing to think about that right now. I’ll do it when I’m in the mood. I’m not sure what “mood” that will be.

6. I don’t even know where to start.

7. I’ll do it tomorrow.

8. Maybe telling your daughter to shoot you when you get old and sick isn’t really that bad.

9. I am very, very busy. (Did I mention that I’m busy?)

Thankfully, AARP’s Decide. Create. Share. program has come along to help me, and other women like me, face our excuses, and get this thing done so that our kids will not be left in a lurch.

Decide. Create. Share. is intended to help us get all of our end-of life affairs in order. Over the course of 40 days. the step-by-step guide will take the participant through seven steps to help complete a workable, lasting plan for the future. You’ll be sent email reminders outlining important actions to complete or consider to take charge of your future. (Don’t worry, the action steps won’t take too much time.)

Decide. Create Share. is a comprehensive, personalized strategy for your future. To complete your plan, consider or finish the seven action steps that cover four critical areas of your life—your home and community, your health, your finances and your wishes.

I’ve taken the 40-Day pledge. How about you?

My Pledge

I hope you will join me in taking the 40-Day Pledge to get your financial, legal, and healthcare affairs in order.

Long-term planning is another way we can take care of our families while giving ourselves the peace of mind we deserve. If you click on the image below it will take you straight to the pledge page. Please join me! 

Decide. Create. Share. Pledge

AARP Decide.Create.Share.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaun Hoobler August 2, 2013 at 2:53 am

All the more reason why we need to plan for our retirement. I’m about to start next year. Hope it turns out well.
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Tamara Woods July 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I wonder when is it too early to start thinking about these things? I’m mid-30s over here, but am dealing with these issues with my Mom.
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grownandflown July 23, 2013 at 5:14 am

Chloe, does every baby boomer in the world think they are simply too young to get prepared for older age? We are a generation in denial and share your 1-9 excuses above. The 40 day pledge is a fabulous way to get organized – I am working on my own pledge, too! PS. I am very, very happy you are not in jail.
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A Pleasant House July 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm

My husband and I have had our end-of-life plans in place for many years. We even have a bi-pass trust set-up so that the State can’t tax our estate. I’m just a little anal. Guess it’s a good thing in this case!
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