As you’re getting ready for bed, your phone rings. It’s your sister calling from Denver. You look at the caller ID, wondering what has prompted the late night call. You answer the phone and your sister tells you that Mom is not doing well that you should come to Denver as soon as possible. The next morning you board a plane from New York to Denver, not knowing what to expect when you get there. You know your brother is traveling in from Florida. The three of you haven’t been together since Dad’s passing two years ago – it was a constant struggle to get along.
When you land, you hop into a taxi to Mom’s house. When you arrive, your brother and sister greet you and fill you in on what’s going on. Mom is losing her memory very fast. In fact, most days she doesn’t even recognize us or her grandkids. In addition to her declining mental state, her health is also failing and the overall prognosis isn’t good. As you process all that you’re hearing, your mind starts to race as you think back to the endless stress and constant conflict you experienced after Dad died. Discussions about even the smallest things brought out deeply buried emotions that erupted in angry and hurtful exchanges. With Mom’s time coming near, who will make all the decisions on her behalf, both medically and financially? With so little that you and your siblings agree upon, how will you navigate the various details that await you while still honoring your mother’s wishes?
There is so much to consider. The question was raised regarding a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. Hospice care is another consideration. There are also burial wishes to think about. Once Mom passes, there is also the question of how to equitably divide the estate among the three of you.
At this point you have two choices. You can fight a protracted battle that will likely end in no one speaking each other. Or you can try mediation. In mediation, you can have an open forum for communication and compromise. You’re already losing your mother; you don’t want to lose your siblings as well. There is another way – mediation.