Thanks and Pre Planning

My mother in law had her first knee surgery yesterday. She came through it like the trooper she is. But we worry. She has a second one scheduled in a month. And we wish to keep her on her feet the best way possible. Why? Well she is with my father in law. You know the one. My One Legged father in law. Yeah....we are short a few body parts there so we need all that is left to work. These are some amazing and determined people. I am always in awe of all that they accomplish and in their 70's at that.

You may remember I gave my mom in law a Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith for her mom's day gift. Well I have a book for my dad in law too. Shush! Don't tell him! I plan on sharing Letters to my Father: The Gifts with him. He is an avid reader and history buff. This is a personal memoir from fellow Texan Dr. O. Raye Adkins on how she found her life's work. Her father lost his life during the Port Chicago Naval Munitions explosion in 1944. My father in law is a retired Naval officer. From the depression she experienced her counselor helped her see she needed comfort. Comfort as her father would have given her. So she gave herself an overstuffed teddy bear. From that gift she went on to heal and create the Help the Bear program. This was a legacy that her father would have been proud of. My own father in law is an avid volunteer for many charities. He has shown me how to give and serve without looking for a reward. That the reward is in being there for someone else. That is how this story also unfolds. Raye you shared an amazing story and a way to make a difference in someone life. Thank you for that!

Now I do not wish to get morbid but my in laws have taught me something else. That life is precious. Life is worth living. But one day we will cease to be. And how we leave this world is our choice. We can go kicking and screaming or we can go in peace. I choose peace. One of the ways I have found that peace is by pre-planning. College Girl knows of my wishes when I get older. And to help her I have My Way Cards. No, not a game (as much as I love games). But a way for me to communicate what I choose when I can not communicate to others. My mom in law has had to deal with the start of dementia. It has her fearful that she can not tell what she chooses in life.

With the My Way Cards those fears can be alleviated. Each card has a simple worded request with an easy illustration. They show symptoms, loss of functions, unwanted behavior and conflict with life-long values. You can go through and pick and choose what you would like to happen when you can no longer tell someone. And then this card system can convey to your family how you want to be treated. Simple and easy. Just what I need. I have sat with my College Girl and Dear Hubby and explained my cards. My choices. My decisions. Now they do not have to worry, nor do I. For one day I may not be able to tell them what is in my heart. Dr. Stanley Terman, thank you for letting me know how I can make these decisions known. It is greatly appreciated.

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