Do You Have A Plan?

I have been debating whether to write this post or not.  If you are reading it then I decided to click the “publish” button.  If you aren’t reading it then I didn’t.  🙂

We seem to be at a place of transition in our lives.  Today my beloved father in law will move to a new home. Something that we had hoped would not happen but we are to the point where we can no longer manage his care at home with the children taking turns.   Today he will move to a nursing care facility.  It is not a decision that has come easily.  It is traumatic.  For all of us.  We have had Hospice involved for a couple of months.  Without them we would have been at this point much earlier.  I am so grateful for Hospice.  I can not say that enough.

Back in the spring I had a scare.   It was that “find the lump in the breast” kind of scare.  It was nerve wracking.  It was something that at the time I said “This is not the time for this—we have too much stuff going on with Dad”. Like there is ever a good time!!!  Fortunately after a biopsy I was declared cancer free and I am a marked woman now.  These days they insert a marker where the “suspicious” area is so that in later mammograms it can be monitored.  Pretty cool.  But at the time it made me think about my mortality and what my plan is.

I think that this is the hard thing with dealing with my father in law’s transition.  I don’t feel like he had a plan. He has a lot of things organized and thought about but there are a lot of holes in the plan.  It has been up to his children to figure things out.   It is very difficult.  Factor into the equation that there is an adult son with Down Syndrome who lives with him and that adds another layer and dimension.  Things are getting more and more complicated by the moment.  “We” think we have a plan now but it could all change in a moment.

I feel like I am going through the whole grief process even though a death has not occurred.  I wallowed in it over the weekend when the decisions were being made.  I asked “Why can’t I just take care of him?” but I now realize that I can’t.  He needs to be somewhere where he can have the care that I can’t provide.  We need to get some semblance of normality for Carlton.  I have also been in the anger stage—questioning why he left this up to his kids.  He had to have known the day would come.  He went through it with his own mom and it was a hard thing for him to handle then so why did he not prepare himself and us for it better?   I will never have the answers to that but I know in my heart that his children are doing what they feel is the best option at this point.

We have split our time since March between here and Dad’s place.  We have cancelled trips and rearranged and done everything we could do to help out.  A lot more has fallen on Chris’s sister just because she lives close.  Now we are truly transitioning as we prepare to move into the house to help out with things.   It is going to be a challenge.  It is truly going to be a time of transition.

So Chris and I are thinking about “our plan”.  We are not leaving this stuff up to our kids.  Frankly  I am a little afraid of what they would do …..not really…..I just want to have a plan!  It is kind of about control but it is also just a smart thing to do.  So here you go… YOU have a plan and if so–what is it????


  1. Dad will be 88 in Nov and Mother in Jan. They have lived with me last 9 years. I cook the main meal, do all the driving and the big decisions are left to me now. They are fairly independent dressing and bathing and washing clothes and managing themselves. I have two fears: How dreadful it will be when one passes taking care of the remaining one. The other problem is I am the only child and there is no extended family. As their abilities diminish it will be all on me and me alone. It all leads to a fairly reclusive life for me but I don’tthink I’ll have the stamina as responsibilities increase. At 62 I also have health issues of my own. Of the bloggers in my age group, more and more on your topic today is being published and their insights are helpful. But they all have friends and families. They don’t understand how lucky they are from that perspective.

    • Carl, thank you for sharing. I can not begin to imagine what it would be like to be the sole caregiver with no one else to give support and relief. Very overwhelming. You are doing a great thing, though, and I commend you for that. Not everyone would or could do what you are doing. We have been so fortunate to have had his Dad with us for as long as we have given his health issues and have some great memories. It is just difficult to make this move today for him. A lot of emotions involved and the realization that our lives are going to change dramatically. Thanks for the comment today.

  2. Thank you for introducing this subject. It is an important one to consider and get down in black and white.

    I bless my mother for making her own decision to move from her house into assisted living. I should follow her good example and make plans.

    • Ann—I thank my mom every time I talk to her for making the decision to move 11 years ago into a retirement community where she will always be able to be –she is still in her own home there but they have all the options available for the different levels of care needed. She loves it there and thanks US for letting her go!!! Silly Mother!!! She has taken control of her future and I am so grateful. I know that we are not alone in this situation and if I get one person to think about their “plan” today then goal accomplished!!! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Jen Hedrick says:

    Your innards must be in knots. We tend to back-burner the unpleasantries of “planning” because they are unpleasant. We think of meadows and bunnies rather than DNRs and the like. Thank you for your courage to say it is what it is and it needs to be faced – unpleasant or not. I feel like a turd for not knowing about your Spring scare. I had something similar last winter that had me in a tizzy for a few weeks. Even with our young Breana, who at 36 passed away with leukemia … she had a plan in place and the peace of mind knowing her wishes would be executed by the people who love her the most. I’m so sorry for the difficulties you’re facing right now — just know you are being lifted up and bold prayers are coming your way. Peace.

    • Thanks so much for the comment and support and prayers and all that jazz! I feel it and know that all this will work out. It is the hard stuff that we put off talking about or doing but if nothing else Chris and I are aware that we need to have specifics in place. Aaron I trust…Micah ….not so much!!! Just kidding!!!! Really—it has been an eye opener for all of us and if it starts people talking then mission accomplished by my post today!!! Loving the community of love I am experiencing today—you being part of it!!! 🙂

  4. Well Beth Ann – you know where I stand on this one! I am so sorry that you had to make that decision and I am in a boat right behind you. Mom has been with me for 13 years (living independently for 10 of those years) and has been on a feeding tube the last 2.5 years. My hubby and I do all the feedings (along with caring for our two kiddos) and frankly we are exhausted. I am beginning to feel that we are doing a DISservice because we really cannot attend to all of her needs when she needs them.

    My mom took care of her mom and still made absolutely no plans for her care later in life. As an only child it is all on my shoulders. I am constantly praying for wisdom and guidence in this entire sitch.

    I will keep you and the family in my prayers as I know how hard the whole process is.

    Hugs, Paula

    • Our situation is soooo much easier than yours!! Our boys are grown and on their own and I am not working so I can pick up and go. You are a wonderful daughter. You have given your Mother something that no one else can and it is commendable but I totally understand your wondering if you have done a disservice to her. You are stretched. But you have made a wonderful decision and I just bet that your family has not suffered one bit—you have somehow stretched and made it work. I think it is amazing what you have done and continue to do on a daily basis—your husband is awesome to support you and to be right there with you helping out and loving her through it all. Your blog has helped me a lot the past few weeks, let me tell you! There is a reason I found it!!! Thanks for the comments and the prayers—they are coming right back at you! Hugs.

  5. I am so sorry.. It is so hard…. Last month, our old next-door neighbor, who was like a second dad to me passed away. He was sick for a while, but his dementia got the best of him around January. He was in nursing homes and hospitals since. it was heart breaking. Marc’s dad had a stroke yesterday, and we are still a little sketchy on his status. We should know more tonight. It is so scary. I am a big supporter of wills and living wills. I have had one since I turned 20

    • Thanks, Hilary. So sorry about your former next door neighbor. That had to be difficult to lose a “father” figure like that. And I am praying for Marc’s dad—they can do so much medically now that even strokes do not have to be what they used to be. Please keep me posted on how he is. I know it is scary. Very scary. Praying for you guys.

  6. We’ve taken care of most of the details, should something happen to us; but there’s still more to be done. We always assume we’ll have tomorrow…
    Thanks for the nudge. Praying for you in this time of transition.

    • Thank you, Patti!!! It is amazing to me how some people just don’t even think about the future and what it holds. You gotta make the plans while you are young and still know what you want!!! Thanks for the prayers!!!

  7. Helen Brown says:

    My prayers include both families, the Chiles and the Browns. It is not something easy to deal with but I think you are doing the best you can in such a situation. I am proud of you Beth, as you have continued to care for people, not just your family but anyone who needs help. God bless you.

  8. Christine Grote says:

    My heart goes out to you. I’m just grateful for each day that my dad is able to remain at home and hope my mom doesn’t keel over from the stress of being primary caregiver.

    This time of life is so hard for so many of us.

    I think many people don’t make the arrangements they need to because they simply wait too long to face it. I know my mom wanted to move into a smaller and easier place–perhaps a retirement community, but Dad didn’t want to and now it’s probably too late.

    Be strong, and find comfort knowing you are doing all that you can do. Some things are out of our hands.

    • Christine–thanks os much for the sweet thoughts and comments. I certainly have gotten a lot of responses from folks saying that they needed a nudge to get their plan in place so if my post accomplished one person thinking about it then it was worth it!!! I think you are right—too many people wait until they actually can’t make the decisions and then it falls into the hands of whoever can–usually the kids if there are any. I know that we are doing the right thing but it is going to be difficult to see him in a facility other than his own home. Thanks again for the encouragement. I am clinging to all that I can get these days!

  9. Hi Beth Ann, I read this yesterday but I just can’t seems to comment right away. Well, first of all, I’m so sorry about your father in law. I will keep him and your family in my prayer. I’m sorry that somehow you & your husband family are in a position to make a very difficult decision, bless your heart. I know it’s not easy and I’m not sure what to do in your position.
    It really does makes you think about life doesn’t it? I certainly won’t put my kids in the position, but I’m not sure if I can make the call to myself either! Isn’t that weird? Do I want somebody to really pull the plug on me? I don’t know! This post really makes me thinks and pray hard. So far, still nothing. At this time I come up with nothing. I’m sorry. I pray for extra strength for you and your family. Take it step at the time and I’m sure God will hold your hand throughout this whole process.

    • Sendie Lou—Thank you so much for your sweet words and your prayers. I am telling you—–I have to keep up this blog just so I can have all of you praying for me!!! We got to my father in law’s house last night and it hit me like a ton of bricks that we have a lot to do to make this all work and to make things as good for him as they can be in his new home. I know that my husband and I will be fine and get through it all but I worry about his brother and the changes in his life that are going to be difficult to explain, you know???? HIs world is going to be turned upside down and I have found that I don’t always communicate with him as well as I would like!! Thanks again for all the prayers and love across the miles! I love my bloggie friends!

  10. Dear Sweet Beth Ann, I’m so glad you shared this post. As you know, I have recently shared with my readers something I debated on whether or not to share as well and the response and support has been overwhelmingly positive. First, let me say I am so grateful that your tests turned out to NOT be breast cancer and secondly, though I have not faced the transition of care for a parent, I know it must be so difficult for the entire family. I am keeping all of you in my prayers. You are not alone by any means. I am a facebook or email message away if you need anything. I have been thinking a lot about my own plan as I await my test results. I think your post will get a lot of people thinking and planning and that, my friend, is a good thing. Love you dearly, Diane

    • Well, aren’t you just the sweetie pie?? I was just getting ready to send YOU an email to tell you I was thinking about you today as you get the results back from your tests. I am keeping you at the top of the prayer list and know that you will come out of this way on top when it is all said and done! Thanks so much for the love!! Am feeling it! 🙂

  11. It hurts my heart to think of a plan, it really does. You are a brave woman for taking this bull by the horns!

    • I am not a brave woman at all—-just trying to be realistic about things. After going through this we have definitely decided that we are not doing this to our boys. We will have it taken care of ahead of time and they will know what our wishes are!!! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Going through this now with my mom who also did not have a plan as you say. It is so hard. You want to do what is best for them but there are so many lives you also have to consider what is best for.

    I love that you pose the question to our generation too. We work on our plan for a while and then walk away. Thanks for a reminder to get back to it.

    • May, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. End of life stuff is so difficult and it is not something that our parents really want to talk about but it is such a necessity. We have promised our boys that we are going to take care of all of it before they need to . It is hard to think about but the best gift you can give your children.

  13. i actually dont have a plan, and thank you for linking this post up today!

  14. I just had to watch my Dad and Aunt go through this with my grandmother. She didn’t have a plan either, so it was left up to the kids to decide. And it was such a hard decision. One of the hardest I’ve ever seen my Dad have to make. Like you with your father-in-law, we made the decision we thought would be best for my grandmother, but that doesn’t make visiting her in that nursing home any easier. 😦

    I think you make an excellent point about needing a plan. Having one in place ensures that your loved ones make a decision they can live with and trust in their hearts.

    Great post. Thanks so much for linking up with us!

    • Katie–Thanks for the nice comment. I reposted this one with you guys because I got so many comments after I wrote it . Everyone agrees they need a plan but not many of us actually have one in place. We put Dad in the nursing home and he lasted one week. We were all able to spend some good time with him and were with him when he took his last breath. He understood that we had no options at that point and went along with our plan even tho it was not his first choice of staying at home. We just could no longer do what he needed. I believe it was the right decision but it was hard. Now we have the hard stuff of going through all the house stuff, setting the estate, taking care of the adult son with Down Syndrome, the list goes on. It is not easy but we will get through it. But bottom line—we are not doing this to our boys. We will have a plan in place. Thanks for the great link up!!!


  1. […] am so overwhelmed by the response to my Friday post of Do You Have A Plan??  So many folks have commented, emailed, sent me encouraging notes on Facebook and it has really […]

  2. […] sweet father in law passed away Thursday morning at 5:00 am..  I shared with you all in a post last week   how difficult of a decision we had to make a week ago–the decision to put him in a nursing […]

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