The first year is hardest, but the memories last forever. Dan White at Evergreen Washelli talks about adjusting after the loss of a senior loved one.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following podcast is a special presentation of answers for elders featuring evergreen was shelley, and welcome back to the program everyone. We are very lucky because Mr Dan White is going to stay on. You know, we’ve had this conversation just previously about ten stages of grief and you know, losing a loved one is so overpowering and so, Dan, thank you so much for staying here because I think this conversation is important. Okay, thank you, Dan. You know, everyone, like you said, process is grief differently and you know then it’s time to, you know, move on and aim with your life. And I know after if you’re a family caregiver, you’re taking care of a loved one, whether it’s your spouse, whether it’s your aging parent or even, sadly, taking care of a child that passes, you know, you’re kind of left with what do I do with the rest of your life? Somebody has consumer your everyday thoughts for so much of the time and then all of a sudden there’s that finality and it’s overpowering. You know, one of the things that I remember is that, you know, when I was taking care of my mom, I had this great support network. I had her, you know, assisted living people’s staff, I had, you know, her doctor, I had all of her you know that her providers that she worked with, that we’re also kind of there for me to support me. And when she passed away, that whole network went away, right, I was left kind of with having to pick up the pieces and not really knowing what to do with the rest of my life. So Do you find out? A lot with families. Find that a lot with families. In fact, recently, and now it’s been probably six months, but we have a son who is he comes into to stop in and visit us at the cemetery and and visit mom, but he still is going through her belongings in her house. Yeah, because there’s just so much for him to go through. So he just continues and kind of gives us an update when he comes in and and what’s going on. But yeah, there’s a lot to do. You know, when I think about the loss of a loved one or spouse and someone that we’d mentioned in the previous program being married for a quite some time right. Well, when you have that widow or widower there, then they do have the children. A lot of them have children that are trying to support them. Well, this is a this was a story about a wife who lost her husband. Wow, and our kids were very concerned about her, but they were all saying, sell your house and move into an apartment, and this was immediate. So this was their way of thinking. That was the best. Behind you, mom. Yeah, but exactly put it behind you and all for mom. But she she actually luckily, had a good friend who actually worked in a lawyers for an attorney, good and the advice that she gave her was don’t do anything right now, right weight, at least a year, hmm, and do that. And so she ended up taking that advice and staying and not really doing anything or making a decision of what she was going to do. So in the end she ended up keeping her house because had she sold her house, she would not have had the place to live in. An apartment. Would have been much more expensive living in the house and she was perfectly fine with living in the House with those memories and living there throughout her life. So that disc goes to say when you do lose somebody or when you stop, don’t you don’t have to rush, take your time, give some really good thought to the decisions that you’re making if they’re good benefit for you, not necessarily your other other family members may not agree, but it has to be your own decision. Well, and most certainly you know the children sometimes are processing their grief entirely differently. They’re not if they’re grown up. They’re not used to seeing dad every day. They’re not used to, you know, the ongoing maybe process of of you know, what they experienced together as husband and wife. There’s a totally different dynamic and I have seen where adult children can be so insensitive to the parents and with that process it’s like, you know, mom, it’s time to go to assisted living, you know we’re going to take care of you, or something like that, and and you know you’re absolutely right. It’s nothing has to be done immediately. Know, you know, maybe, if mom needs help, maybe bring in Homecare, Wonderful Home Care Agency to come in and help you. I also know, when I when I think about this, it takes a while to go through somebody’s stuff. I know I talked about in my book that it took me almost four years after my mother died to get through it all that I till I was able to get to her boxes and you know, it’s sad. With my mom, who had gone all the way through to skilled care her whole life, possessions over time, as we got rid of things and got rid of things, I walked out of that nursing home where she was, you know, skilled nursing facility, where she was living at the time after she passed away, and it was five boxes of stuff. So you know, and how long did it take me to go through five boxes? You’d think that I would have been able to do that. Took me four years to open him up. Yeah, and that happens. Just you know, you overwhelming. You speak about that and I look to my own father who is currently he’s eighty six and living in Phoenix and lost his wife almost two years ago and he lives down a phoenix and will stay there. But I have a total, there’s a total of six siblings all and two of them did want to put him into an assisted living but he wanted to stay in his home. So what we have done and thinks he’s a veteran. So the VA has been very helpful in supplying some time for him as far as for showers and one to clean the house. But you know, we have meals on wheels too, so he has his independence. He drive his golf cart and go to his own doctor’s appointments. Sood it’s all about him. It’s all about dad live in his life, not putting him somewhere that he gets no care or no one visits. Well, and it’s also about really under standing that everybody has their own process and it you know, everybody will work in a different way. I know from me I need a little boost from my husband and I was very grateful at the end after we went through it and he was there with me. But you know, he said it’s time, you know, we really need to get through this and we need to and you know, he kind of push the envelope with me, but it was important that he did that and I think that’s you know, if you’re close enough to somebody that’s dealing with this kind of a loss and you can have your significant other be that support and also sometimes help you get through to the next step. I know I was very grateful at the end when Keith asked me to do that. So well, that’s good. You’re very lucky to have somebody who is supportive and to be able to do that. Yes, and a lot of families there is. There is in fighting that happens and that’s really not that doesn’t do the parent any good or it doesn’t do your spouse any good if that’s the the the person who happens to be in care. So yeah, and and you know, you get you bring up a family dynamics aspect. Families are unique. Every family’s different. They have different cultures and different traditions. You know, losing mom, though, when mom is the matriarch of the family, can really upset the apple cart and families. I know that so many families I work with. Mom May even not be have all of her faculties, but as long as mom’s alive, everything kind of stays the same. The minute mom passes away, the whole dynamic shifts. There’s resentfulness, there’s there’s situations that, you know, errors are fighting amongst each other. You know, people want different things to happen in the funeral or in the memorial service. Against goes back to our previous discussion about discussions, about preplanning. Yes, you know, you’re you’re really looking at there’s a lot of things that can happen in families that after someone passes away, it really can manifest itself in different ways. I’m sure, yes, and it does. It does change the family dynamics considerably from those that I have seen or visited again. So, if I’m a a friend of a friend that’s grieving, obviously, how can I help them in adjustment? Obviously, in in you know, can I? Is it good to invite people to new experiences? Use It. I mean what what would you suggests? Is a great way to be a good support network for somebody that’s lost a loved one just to be there as an open air, HMM HM, and be be available. That’s a huge thing. A lot of us are so busy about, you know, trying to take care of our you know, our own lives that we forget about, you know, those whole details of you know that sometimes just be available. You know, maybe it’s you know, I remember the movie Tuesdays with Mari, you know, as exact and and you know, maybe you take exact every Tuesday and afternoon if you have a close loved one or that is going through and create a tradition. Maybe you go to lunch on Tuesdays and even if it’s to go sit in the park and spend some time to just kind of be an ear. I think it’s important to be that person that’s okay to talk about that loved one. For sure. Well, that’s a that’s probably the best thing, Suzanne, is to do that, to be present and to be there to listen, because, you know, there are lots of counselors that are available out there, there are grief counselors, there are people who will do this professionally too, Serre able to help families deal with it well, and I think to journaling, blogging, is so important. I know. I know for me, you know, one of the ways in which I helped get through my grief was writing and telling my story and being able to just get it out sometimes is so valuable and it’s also really acknowledging to that everybody has their own process. It’s also about forgiveness. It’s about doing a lot of work on, you know, forgiving other members of the family that may have reacted in not a positive way, and it forgiveness doesn’t does not forgive or, you know, make what happened okay, but it releases your attachment. That in releases it from controlling your life. So allowing yourself that, you know, that release of resentments to others. I thinks it is important to be able to move on. It is. It’s very important. So, Dan, how do we reach you? So you can reach me at four to five for a three, zero, five, five, five, at Abbey View Memorial Park. You can email me at Dyde at Lash Shelleycom or certainly find us on facebook at Abbey View Memorial Park. Dan, it’s always great having you on the program thanks for being here. Thanks as in this has been a special presentation of answers for elders featuring evergreen. Was Shelley for more information about evergreen? Was Shelley. Their website is was shellycom. That’s Wa Schll ICOM.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.