Hello everyone reading this,
I am the DPOA for both of my parents, in their 90's. My mother has Alzheimer's and is in one facility while my father is in hospice in a separate facility (due to his different needs). He's what they classify as a functional quadriplegic. Though he does (did) have use of his hands, he has no strength to transfer and when he's not in bed, he's in a wheelchair. Everything must be done for him and very recently he now has to be fed. His mental capacity has declined rapidly and he seems totally defeated, exhausted, in pain and wanting to "go". All the signs are there - that his time is fast approaching.
Unfortunately my parents did not make any final arrangements for their internment - at least I was not able to find any paperwork when I cleaned out their home. Neither of them remembers if they arranged anything, which means to me there are no arrangements.
Also, being my parents POA, I had to deal with my estranged (very estranged) older brother's death 2 months ago (died alone, found later) as he was not married and had no children. I'm the one in the family who is local so I have to deal with everything, even though he lived over a hundred miles from me. Now I'm trying to wrap my head around going through this again very shortly, while trying to make sense of the options and what is best for them …and myself (sorry if that sounds selfish).
I do know that my mother doesn't want to be cremated because she used to be very religious, but I have not been able to ascertain what my father's wishes are/were. When hospice alerted me that I needed to make some mortuary arrangements for him soon, he had just recently lost a lot of cognitive ability in a very short period of time. Every time I tried to talk to him about this he did not seem to be able to grasp what I was saying, nor could he hear me well.
This is frustrating and depressing but I'm trying to roll ideas/plans around in my head that will not be too difficult to make happen. My thought was to have my father cremated, have a memorial and keep his ashes to be with my mother until her life ends, when I would get a crypt for them to be interned together. I don't know how I can get through all of this any other way. My mother isn't in the best state of health so I don't think it would be too long before they would be interred together and frankly I'm just not up to doing two more complicated funerals close together. I'm trying to keep it simple and do-able.
I feel bad that I have to think about it this way, but after years of being their caregiver, POA and advocate, I'm really on the brink of total exhaustion. I've tried to relay my condition to other family members and get their opinion on this but they're not very responsive. I just want to take care of this in a way that doesn't kill me too.
I'm wondering what the legalities of this are. Am I able to make this decision for my father since both of my parents are mentally incapacitated?
Any thoughts, ideas, support is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
P.S. I'm not sure if this is posted in the right section, so please advise if it should be someplace else. Thanks again.
AND... thanks for reminding me what is important. You guys are great!!
I had to bury my Uncle, Grandmother, and Mama, my Daddy will be next. In the future will be my brothers.
Let me tell you that if you do it before they pass then it will be easier you can make decisions easier. Waiting until they pass will be harder because of the emotions.
Get an agent out to your home and they will help you do this. You do not have to sign a contract right now you can always call them back or go with someone else.
Cremation is inexpensive and is becoming more popular due to the burial options that are offered. Don't feel bad about the decisions that are made your parents will be honored no matter what you do because you are who you are and you will do your best.
Scripture says, Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Says it all in my opinion.
Do what works for you, they felt your love and compassion when they were alive and it mattered the most. Final arrangements are for the living.
Your parents did make arrangements about the things that were important to them: they placed their confidence in you. Speed reading through what you've handled for them over the years, they made an excellent choice.
More to the point, given that you know they *did* think things through, it is reasonable to suppose that had they cared about their own funeral arrangements they would have seen to them. Signed up to an insurance plan, added a letter of wishes to their documents, expressed a preference to you - they could have done any of these things very easily indeed, and had it been important to them they would have done. They didn't. You have to conclude they didn't think it important enough.
So. You have carte blanche to make whatever arrangements seem to you to be appropriate and manageable. What you suggest sounds fine to me, an outsider; respectful of them individually and as a married couple. Very nice.
What's wrong with it? I wonder if the only thing that's wrong with it, perversely, is that it is straightforward and won't have you busting a gut for a full month to get all the arrangements made.
There is nothing inherently wicked in not making life more difficult than necessary, you know. Have you perhaps lost sight of that, through the caregiving years?
It sounds like your plan to cremate Dad and bury him with Mum when the time comes is a good one. Have a joint memorial service when they are both gone.
Many people would say to make the decision that seems right to you, because it really won’t affect either your mother or your father, but the memory might upset you. Don’t impoverish the living by expensive funerals that benefit no-one. Don’t send yourself around the twist to organise something complicated, thinking that’s what other people expect. One good idea is to manage it in as low a key as possible, and then have a memorial service in a few months when everyone is feeling better. That works well when you have a wide-spread family (because people interstate can co-ordinate holidays), or if inheritance is top of too many people's concerns immediately after the death. And try to think about what might be important to God!
Stop worrying and focus on the last days of your parents’ lives, not on the aftermath! Best wishes, Margaret