Honoring Our Parents As They Move Toward Death


Today would have been my mother’s 71st birthday, but she only made it to 67 before brain cancer shortened her life. We never know how fast or how slow our parents will die. When my mom was diagnosed, we knew her condition would deteriorate just long enough to give us time, but slow enough to cause great grief as a vital woman was reduced to a shell of herself. Nor did we predict that my father would drop dead unexpectedly, less than four months before my mom did.

I say this to ask all you who have both their parents alive now to make a decision today to never put your parents into a home.

It may mean that you have to accommodate them as they die. You may have to move one parent in with you if the other is unable to care for them for whatever reason. It may mean you have to go part-time at work to take care of them, or even quit your job altogether in order to take care of them in the last stages of their lives, but do it. Don’t even question how it will work out. It will be messy and will undoubtedly hurt to be that close in such a precious time, but God will honor you for that decision to give your parents that last bit of your love and care.

Also, it is never too early to discuss estate details with them. Make certain they have all their funeral and estate plans in order, a lawyer (and a backup lawyer) selected, and make sure an executor is appointed ahead of time. If they appoint you, you will have a lot of work to do. A trust can make this easier and your folks should consider putting their estate in a trust, rather then letting it go through messy probate issues. And absolutely get a statement of the value of their assets before they die. It can always be revised later, but trying to organize it all under the emotional pressure of their passing is avoidable if done in advance.

All the legal stuff aside, the last gift you can give a dying parent is to be there for them in their hour of death. Don’t let anything take that away. Again, God will honor you for loving your parents that way. You only get two chances; let them both be blessed.

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