Question: Dear Luise: My mom is dying and it’s not going to be long. She has no meaningful religious connections and has made no requests. My dad and siblings don’t want to ask her what she’d like because no one wants to face this. And well, to tell the truth, even though I’m thirty-five and a mom myself, I don’t either. Still here we are with no plan. I really don’t want to take this on but I also feel we’re being pretty unrealistic and disorganized about it. We’re an average family with a lot of stuff flying around that isn’t spoken out loud. My dad is not the easiest person to talk things over with. What should I do, if anything? Suzan H.
Answer: Dear Suzan: Well, I can sure see how this would feel pretty rocky to you. The only way to give a person the send-off they want is to communicate with them about it. There are also people who don’t want a send-off of any kind, or simply don’t care what you do.
It sounds like you are pretty solid and able. Often the burden for decisions in a family falls on that kind of a person. If it would make you feel more comfortable, follow the old pattern, bring it up and get things going.
The point is that you have a choice here. Do you know that? It’s your dad’s job. The fact that he’s not up for it is natural. Not wanting to face it doesn’t let him off the hook.
If you want to take it on, then it is timely and needed. If you don’t, let the chips fall where they may. Your mom, will pass and final arrangements will have to be made. If you don’t take it on, your dad will have to.
The thing you need to understand here is that just because you are a responsible and organized person with foresight, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always your job to step in and take on the job nobody else wants.
Take some time away from the situation, maybe with a sympathetic friend, to look closely at how you feel, where your energies need to be directed and what you want to do…then act. Blessings, Luise