Tag Archives: end of life

It Pays To Have A Daughter

9 Oct

I read recently that having a daughter adds years to your life. Having one who is a social worker by trade is undoubtedly another bonus.

2015

While visiting California this summer, my eldest initiated the uncomfortable conversation, “Mom, what do you want at the end of your life?”. I, who am rarely at a loss for words didn’t have an answer. I guess somehow I imagined living into old age with my faculties in tact and one day just not waking up? Ha, a fantasy at best, although I imagine it could happen. Truth be told, I hadn’t imagined anything.

Reading stories.

My daughter used to work in an emergency room where families brought in their elders after a fall, stroke or other catastrophic event. When asked how they and their loved one would like to proceed, she was met with blank stares. We are all woefully unprepared. There are so many things our society ignores. We will all be there someday. Best get on it. We need to have a plan, at least a conversation.

This book should be required reading by all humans.

I have on occasion suggested books on Dos Tortas. One that addresses this sticky topic and should be required reading for everyone is, BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande. Whether you need a framework to talk to a parent, family member or significant other, this is it. Do it now.

DOS TORTAS

Death Knocks

30 May

It was a sucker punch to the stomach this week, when I received the news on Facebook that a dear friend has cancer. And not just cancer but stage four, liver, lung and bone cancer. Suze and I have been friends for almost thirty years. We met on a shuttle from the Michigan Women’s Music Festival in the 90’s. My life has been so much richer knowing this crazy woman who makes me laugh. We’ve been to each other’s weddings, and a boatload of parties. We’ve had sleep-overs for New Year’s Eve and watched the Texas low-budget, cult classic Sordid Lives in our pajamas. When she retired from social work, this dynamo took up real estate and sold our home in 2013 so Lisa and I could scurry off to be Dos Tortas in southern Mexico.

In 1999 Lisa and I had a commitment ceremony before marriage was legal. Suze was there.

There was a year of tests that came back negative until they didn’t. No treatment, 3-6 months, get your affairs in order, say your goodbyes.

Suze is the queen of having your affairs in order. In her long career as a social worker, she was the head of Texas Partner for End Of Life Care (TxPEC) which helped develop directives for physicians and clergy to better assistant the dying. It’s because of her fearless advocacy that many have had the hard conversations and their wills are in order.

I am glad that Lisa and I will be back in Texas this summer. We will sit together, hold hands and create final memories. I love you Suze and you will always be in my heart and at least you’ll never have to go on another diet!

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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