“FUTURE WHAT IFS” Marco Orlando
It’s not easy seeing our parents get old. No one really prepares any of us for that it seems. It’s something that kind of sneaks up on us without even trying. I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom and dad lately as they’ve both been dealing with some ongoing issues. In recent times, birthdays and holidays and other celebrations have all become just another reminder of how vulnerable my parents are and how fragile life really is. Sometimes if I think about it too much, I start worrying. But I need to be honest with myself. I know there will come a time where my mom and dad won’t be around anymore. It’s not something I anticipate having to plan for right off, but even so, there’s been a part of me that has tried to mentally prepare myself for it ahead of time. I’ve tried not to bother them too much with anything that I didn’t think was super important in the past because of it. I didn’t really want to inconvenience them, even though that’s what parents are for and that’s what parents do. And I also keep trying to make these meaningful lasting connections that I keep looking for outside of my family because I know I’m going to need someone or something to fall back on later in life when my mom and dad aren’t around anymore. I’ve mentioned in the past how future planning scares me. It can be intimidating not knowing what my future will look like when I get to be my mom’s age, or even my dad’s age. So I try not to put so much thought into it if I can help it. Truth be told, talking about things like life insurance policies, long term care facilities, living wills, burial plots, and even hospice can all sound overwhelming to anyone who hasn’t had to navigate their way through them. But I know that these are discussions that I will need to have now while my parents are still here to guide me through them so I’m not scrambling to fill any gaping holes later. Safety nets and backup plans are things that everyone should have in place for when they will need them at any stage in life. People with disabilities are no different. A lot of us are smarter than our society would prefer to give us credit for. It may take us a while, but eventually we can figure things out and we catch on to things. Many of us are sticklers for consistency and it’s important for us to be able to trust the people in our lives and depend on them to provide us with that consistency. It would also be more beneficial to us if these people are honest with us when they have these discussions around future planning and don’t try to keep things a secret from us, even if it means breaking things down and explaining it to us in a way that we can understand. I would hate to see any of us falling through the cracks or getting left behind during times of chaos and uncertainty. We all could use someone in our lives that we can rely on to point us in the right direction every now and then to help us get started on the road to future planning.
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