My Mom seemed relieved. She returned from the hospital late in the day after staying by my father's side through countless evaluations and assessments, really not comprehending all of the facts, figures, percentages she had heard.
"Your Dad and I talked today, and I really didn't have to bring it up. He did. We were just sitting there after seeing the Nephrologist and I don't know what we were talking about, but all of a sudden he said, 'What ever happens I just don't want an open casket!'"
"It was so nice to really talk about these end-of-life issues. We had a wonderful conversation, well, not that it was the greatest thing to talk about, but your father was very open, frank, honest, and I might even say, philosophic, about his final wishes. It was so nice to have such a talk, I can't tell you. We really talked. After over 50 years together... it was so nice to have the time, and such a relief."
It was like a huge burden had been lifted from my mother's heart. She knows now. No question is left unasked, no desire or arrangement to be managed in the end left untended. Not everyone is so lucky to have "the talk" with their loved one. But I was impressed that my mother felt so comforted by it. In my ignorance and with plenty of denial, I'm sure, I reassured her that such a conversation probably isn't needed now.
"You never know," she said.