Mother’s Day. Memorial Day. Those are two of the things which spring to mind when I think of the month of May. Unfortunately, in the case of my family, our mother passed away in 2009, so this will be the second Mother’s Day without her here.
There’s an interesting occurrence as one moves fully into “ripened adulthood,” namely, that the generation before us passes on and we take the position of being the generation in charge. I have to say it was a sobering realization when it hit me that I am older than the president. (For those of you who are now calculating for yourselves, Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961!)
One of the rights of passage, as it were, is taking care of our aging parents and relatives. Of course, this is not always the case; some people lose their parents at an early age and in occasional tragic turns-of-events, some parents outlive their children, but the normal state of affairs dictates that at some point each of us has the opportunity to become the caretakers of those who took care of us.
When people ask me why I chose to specialize in estate law one of the things I tell them is because it’s a form of law that brings peace. It’s not to say it’s a “happy law,” as confronting someone’s own mortality and the mortality of those they love most rarely brings thoughts of cheer, but there is something truly comforting about handling the inevitable before it needs to be handled.
In the particular case of my mother, I’m deeply thankful that she chose to handle her affairs when she was still healthy, strong, and able to decide for herself how she wanted everything dealt with. The most powerful reason was because at the end of her life we all wanted to simply be together in her presence. It would have been disruptive and upsetting to try to handle her affairs in that space. As it was, it brought us all peace to know that all we needed to do was gather around and let her go.
I’m crystal clear that not everyone has a loving, warm relationship with their parents. That was the case at one point in my own family for sure. In retrospect I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t leave you with one final charge in this Mother’s Day missive: love her while you can.
Joel J. Loquvam
Attorney at Law
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