Preparing for the Loss of a Parent

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We all face the prospect of losing our parents at some point. No one wants to talk about this impending loss, but preparing for it can help ease the pain, prepare us to be left with some great memories, and allow us to make decisions more easily when the time comes.

Prepare Emotionally

Dealing with our emotions is the most difficult part of losing a parent, and it’s natural to never want to talk about it. Yet talking about it can help us, and our parents, prepare.

Now⁠—while our parents are still with us⁠—is the time to ask or extend forgiveness. It’s the time to say “I love you” out loud and make explicit what we too often take for granted.

Now is also the time to reminisce, and you can help yourself prepare by working with a parent to make a record of their lives and stories. Telling and hearing these stories offers another chance to make memories, and writing them down will keep your parents emotionally close even after they’re physically gone.

Discuss Final Arrangements

Making the final arrangements with a loved one is hard, but it’s actually far easier to do this before they’re gone than it will be after. While your parents are still here it’s possible to make sure of their wishes and look around for the best choices in cremation services or memorial service venues.

Once a parent is gone, you’ll be dealing with some strong emotions It will be much harder to make decisions. It can be devastating to come to these decisions and then realize you aren’t sure what a loved would want or worry that you’re not honoring their memory in the right way. 

As you consider final arrangements, don’t forget to include key issues immediately leading up to death as well as what happens after. Encourage your parents to set up a medical directive and medical power of attorney in case they are unable to make health decisions near the end.

Make Financial Preparations

The time to plan end-of-life financial affairs, for all of us, is while we’re still healthy and strong. If your parents are aging and haven’t yet made a will or chosen an attorney. in accordance with New Mexico law, now is the time to approach and help them take the first step.

Take time now to consider insurance options and make sure your loved one will be covered for hospice or long-term nursing care if necessary. Visit hospices in your area so you know where your parents will feel most comfortable if hospice care becomes necessary.

This is also a good time to talk with The Davis Kelin Law Firm so you know about your options in case medical malpractice becomes an issue in a parent’s medical care.

Talk With Your Children

For many children, a grandparent’s death is their first experience of loss. The temptation is to protect our children from reality, and while we do have to be careful how much detail we share with a very young child, the way we help our children prepare for loss can either help or harm their future mental and emotional health.

Be honest within the limits of what your child can understand. Encourage children to ask questions, and remember that while adults often work through emotions internally, lots of children need to work through theirs by talking it out. Encourage them to express their feelings through songs, drawings, or notes.

Don’t be afraid to share some of your own feelings. This demonstrates to your child that they’re not alone in feeling grief and loss and offers them an example to model.