DeathWise® Blog

How Janet Rallied Her 4 Children to Get It Done!

  • By: Lori Marshall
  • Published: June 16, 2020, 932 days ago

Janet, an 86-year-old widow, lives on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest. Janet has always been very open with her four children. So there was no reason why, when she started planning for her death some years ago, her family would not be open about that, too.

“I thought it was a good idea to divide up the responsibilities, and put each of my children in charge of different things,” said Janet.

Bob, the oldest, is a lawyer so he was put in charge of the legal side of Janet’s life. Renee was put in charge of their mother’s health, which included her advising their mother on regular exercise and healthy nutritional eating. Even though Renee lives in a different city than her mother, she is able to monitor Janet’s exercise and eating by supporting her through emails and phone calls.

Anne, who has a take-charge attitude and is the chief executive of a company, was put in charge of helping to find answers to perplexing problems in her day-to-day life. Then her youngest daughter, Ruth, a financial advisor and a chief financial officer for several small companies, was put in charge of Janet’s finances and taxes. She helps her with computer problems, too.

Janet was very clear with her children from the beginning about her Advance Directive. She wanted to die with dignity, preferably at home rather than in a hospital, and then have her ashes sprinkled in a plot on the island where her husband’s ashes were scattered in 1990. After facing the issue of death with her husband and carrying out his wishes, Janet wanted her children to do the same for her.

She discussed the preliminaries with her children, and then handed the reins over to them. She told the four of them to have a conference call to discuss such details as whether she would remain at home or eventually move to a retirement community.

“I thought it was better for them to get on the phone now, when I’m alive, and hammer out the details and get their arguing out of the way now,” said Janet.

The phone call wasn’t easy, and brought up some issues for the adult children about their own life and death wishes. But in the long run, Janet said, the conference call was beneficial for the entire family.

“Fortunately my children get along well and I think the more they talk, the better off they are,” said Janet. “Now they understand my wishes that I do not want to be kept alive by having invasive medical devises inserted into my body, and that Washington State had voted to be a ‘death with dignity’ state.”

So thanks to the fact she rallied her children into a mode of action and support, Janet can now enjoy her time on her beautiful island without having to worry about the end of her life. With the help of her children, Janet got it done!