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Let's learn something: How to talk to our parents about their future

Image background by Shawn Campbell

Mom, we have to have a conversation.

You are a wonderful mom, and you are a phenomenal grandmother. I look forward to so many years of you and my son playing hide-and-go-seek, cooking in the kitchen together and doing whatever crazy-wonderful things you can think up to spoil him.

But we need to talk about your future. It's a conversation that I am scared to have with you. I'm scared to have it because it makes me think about what my life will be like without you in it. But, I need to put aside those fears and have this talk with you anyway.

I first thought about this subject when I saw Peter Paul's TED Talk on starting a conversation around death. In his talk, he attempted to make it easier to have that conversation with people by proposing this question:

  • In the event that you became too sick to speak for yourself, who would you like to speak for you?

I thought it was brilliant. I told myself I would ask you that question and get the conversation started. But, I didn't do it. I didn't do it because I had a baby to think about, and there was work, and my daily life and a hundred other excuses and always that fear. So, I didn't talk to you.

Then, I saw another TED Talk by Judy MacDonald on how to prepare for a good end of life. Once again, I told myself that I needed to talk to my mother and find out what arrangements she has made already and what she wants to happen. But there was that fear again. You and I have talked about my son, and our family history, and my job and what we were going to do for the holidays, but not about this subject.

And now, I've read this Retirement Study by Merrill Lynch, which is focused on aging parents' financial futures. It is encouraging people to find out what their parent's financial health looks like before it becomes a surprise.

So, Mom, we're going to have a conversation. And I may cry, because even the thought of losing you tears my heart apart. But, I am going to make an appointment to talk to you about your plans and what you want. I'm doing this because I love you and that is stronger than my fear.

Let's talk, Mom.

Join me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen and tell me what you are afr...

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