Just last evening we got the call: one of Hubby’s elderly aunts is in very poor health and the nursing home suggested the family come in to say goodbye. We live about a hundred miles from that branch of the family, so a fast trip over there wasn’t really possible. The younger boys were scheduled to go visit Grandma and Grandpa this week (we took the older ones to camp this week). That trip is temporarily on hold. We were actually halfway to the meeting point when my mother-in-law called to let us know what was happening, so we turned around and came home. Hubby has to go to work tomorrow and we had the puppy along, so there wasn’t really a way to get there.
But now I’m thinking about today. Should I take the boys (age 7) and drive up there myself? Auntie has advanced Alzheimer’s, and hasn’t recognized us for a year or more. If we go, and if she’s even conscious, she still won’t know who we are.
Maybe though, having some bouncy boys around giving hugs and kisses and singing songs would be good for the rest of the family. Auntie has lived all of her life with her two sisters, except for the past several weeks in the home. Losing her will be hardest on them, especially since they’re in fairly poor health themselves.
As a parent, the most important question is, “What’s best for the boys?”
I want them to be able to handle the death of a relative; we’ve got a lot of older folks that won’t be here forever. With 4 family members over 80 and 2 in their 70′s, we know that there will be partings in the future. I don’t, however, want to push them into anything that would be even remotely harmful. It’s possible a lot of the details will pass right by them anyway.
Assuming there’s a death this week and that we can go to the funeral, is that the best time for them to say goodbye? Or would they benefit from seeing her again before she passes? Should I go up to visit, but keep them at arm’s length?
What would you do?
Photo graciously provided by Walkinonsunshine, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved