Excuse Me for Dying!

I was recently told a story about a 96 year old woman who knew the end was coming and was planning her funeral. She was going through the list of family, friends and close associates who would be involved in her final celebration.  As she made her list of invitees she also took inventory of the issues and dynamics between each of them.

She became concerned about how her daughters would handle her death and deal with each other. They never got along and the stress of her death would only make it worse. Could both of these selfish women get over themselves long enough to make their mother’s funeral special?

Then there was the Pastor and his wife, the music director of the church, who had recently been divorced and now hated each other.  She wondered if she would have to make a choice as to which one to invite. The Pastor couldn’t sing and the wife couldn’t preach so it would be a difficult situation.

What about her long time bridge partners?  The only thing they all had in common was that they enjoyed playing bridge. They were the most competitive women she knew.  She knew her funeral would end up being a competition for best dressed, most tears and biggest flower arrangement.

The story reminded me of something a resident of a retirement home said about planning his funeral, “Man it’s a good thing I don’t have to do this twice, the stress is going to kill me.”

We often let our own issues, selfish issues, take over at the end of a loved one’s life.  It is a difficult time for everyone involved, but isn’t it more important to value and respect the wishes of our loved ones and assure them that their wishes will be honored, than to be “right” or get our way?


  1. Nancy Nelson
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Dwayne,
    Interesting how life changes our direction, isn’t it? I was diagnosed with Early on-set Alzheimer’s seven months ago. I am close friends with RJ and Stephen. They introduced myself and family to Aegis. You have beautiful surroundings for those memory challenged and for families to visit. I read my poem to a small group in your meeting room two months ago and was encouraged. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been waking up in wee hours of the morning writing poems of my experiences since the diagnosis of A.

    I am interested in your book and shall read it. If ever you have time, I’d love to have a conversation with you.

    My website and poem book are being ‘birthed’ soon in the hopes to be of support and help.

    Thank you for taking time to read this. Nancy

  2. Posted April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    This part: “Man it’s a good thing I don’t have to do this twice,” made me laugh out loud. That’s hilarious.

    Very true how difficult organizing anything can be when participants fail to adopt a cooperative attitude. That’s when it’s best to figure out what motivates each of them and try to appeal to that “drive” in order to convince them to get along.

  3. Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people about this subject, however, you sound like you
    know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  4. Jean Mitchell
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The post, Excuse Me for Dying, will be appreciated by many of us, and surely will be shared as a reminder of how to support each other in a family that is sadly divided.
    Today is the first time I have read your post, Dwayne. Your story is truly inspiring. I am glad you continue posting ideas that need to be shared.

    • Jean Mitchell
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I recommend another excellent blog, written by Tony Hunt, who knew Dwayne Clark years ago. Tony’s mother, Norma, has Lewy Body Dementia. He is truly her guardian angel. Norma lives in a very good Memory Care facility in Portland, Oregon. Tony’s blog is “Life with Mom and Lewy Body Dementia.” He posts two-three times a week.
      Tony read Dwayne Clark’s book and told me it is excellent. I will get a copy for myself. I have known his mother all my life.

      Now I have two blogs to follow. Thank you for all you do for seniors.

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