An Emotional Afternoon

Originally published at on August 8, 2014

I have been a practicing social worker for over 30 years. During this time I have tried to not “social work” my family. Not an easy feat especially over the last 10 years since starting Elder Caring and having aging parents. This past weekend I returned to my home town for a visit with my mother. I thought it would an excellent opportunity to complete the new EC “Wellness Binder” that I had put together. The binder is the keeper of the information- all the important stuff-who to contact in case of emergency, the list of neighbours , the important papers including the powers of attorney, advance directives, will and of course the detailed medical history, names of specialists, medication and passwords (for online accounts and other) and details of other key information.

We went together to the safe place where she keeps all of her information. As we sat together and opened the box and reviewed together these documents, I was definitely the daughter. I was unprepared for the strong emotional feelings that overwhelmed me. As a professional I have been facilitating and guiding these type of discussions with families for years. However as a daughter I realized that the next time I would be opening this box, would be without my mother.

After a cathartic release of hugs and tears, we were both very pleased and relieved that we had discussed and documented this very important next step of life. The afternoon was capped by a visit to the cemetery. A wonderful way to reaffirm life: ensuring we were both better prepared for tomorrow.

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