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Reflections on the end of life and anticipated end

 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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Joined  20-07-2007
 
 
 
28 May 2019 13:38
 

Let me be more specific re this title.  Not, repeat not, to elicit replies of sympathy; they’re more to ease the discomfort of the originator than that of the recipient.  My good friend, named Diane also by coincidence a psychologist and living next door to us, took her own life April 1, 2019, at 7:15 AM as she’d planned for the last two years given her diagnosis of Alzheimers 9 years ago.  She was 64. 

My wife, also named Diane, died April 29, 2019, at 2:00 AM five days after being placed in a CBRF from an Independent Living facility in which we’d lived for the last three years. She’d been declining for the last several years.  We were married for 26 years. Our costs here had been about $4,200 a month to provide social (not medical) opportunities over the last three years.  The cost for the CBRF was about $7,200 a month.  I elected to move to a less expensive place close by with my dog of the last ten years to reduce expenses from more than $12,000 a month. But my wife died after five days, while I was in the middle of down-sizing, donating, and generally overwhelmed.

I moved into a studio apartment close by, with our small blind dog, Xandy.  Then she died May 5 of a liver malfunction.  Now I’m living alone apart from a potted plant. Life is not great now, and a tad more depressing than I’d anticipated. Some points:

1. Establish a trust, avoids Probate. Don’t bother if you’ve less than 50k in total wealth as a guess.  Not for you, you’re dead, but for your survivors.

2. Pre-arrange funeral contracts.  I was hit with over $5,000 in charges for my wife just for cremation only.  That same could be had for less than $1,500.  Funeral services are legal crime exploiting ignorant and stressed survivors.

3. Expect little apart from initial condolences from associates.  You may be avoided.  No one is comfortable with such a situation.

Wish the best to all here. The end of life tends to be shitty. 

Dennis

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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28 May 2019 13:51
 

Glad you posted, Dennis.  Just being part of a community, even an online one, can provide some emotional support when you go through hard times.  You and I have been communicating, but I’m glad to see you back in action here.  You continue to be in our thoughts.

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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28 May 2019 14:24
 

Kindest thoughts, Dennis.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 14:39
 

No different from anyone else at 81 y/o with almost all close deceased. If you’re financially sufficient, as am I, that’s great. If you’re not, the so-called helpers ignore you; if you are, they seek to exploit you.  Agrace Hospice here is an exception.

I’ve no wise answers.  None.  I Reject people like Bother Mario who’s just another otherwise pathetic person seeking to expand his ego absent substance.  Would not mind waking up dead tomorrow, and will be disappointed if I awake.  Depression?  Of course. That’s not pathological but natural unless you’re delusional.

Discussions of death or anticipate death tend to put folks off. Puts me off. Maybe? there’s some value in such a conversation.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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28 May 2019 14:53
 

I remember that story about your friend.  Who after receiving her diagnosis sought to make plans for dying with dignity.  I fully respect and endorse that decision.  There’s something to be said for a society that has the humanity to live and let die.

I am very sorry for your recent series of losses.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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28 May 2019 16:01
 

My condolences, Dennis. 

Although we don’t know each other well, I remember your kindness in welcoming me here over two years ago, and know you’ve been missed here.

[ Edited: 29 May 2019 09:29 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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28 May 2019 16:50
 

Our thoughts are with you Dennis, and I’m happy to see you post, even if in such a sad context. You’ve been missed!

Your post seems to be such that I’d like to hear your thoughts on my situation (anyone else is of course free to chime in):

My Mom is 88. She’s currently in an assisted living place that she can’t afford, so I’ve found her a roommate who:

- seems to be a fine, honest person
- needs a place to live
- likes the idea of exchanging room, board and a small stipend for cooking, cleaning, and shopping for my Mom, and in general looking out for her.

I would characterize my Mom as stubborn, in denial, making bad decisions, but still mentally “competent”. Given her finances, I think that a roommate is by far her best option. She’s being stubborn and resistant and trying to chase her potential new roomie away. I have general POA.

So, my thoughts from an ethical perspective are that just because someone is old and making bad decisions, that doesn’t mean they should lose control of their life. My thoughts as her son who loves her is that if she chases this roomie away she could end up in some sort of horrible “ward of the state” housing situation and lose her home.

I think that if she was in exactly the same mental state, and she was 50, most of us would agree that it’s her life to live. Does that change because she’s 88?

So i don’t know whether to continue to merely advise her and try to talk some sense into her, or whether I need to exercise POA and force the situation?

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 17:00
 
LadyJane - 28 May 2019 02:53 PM

I remember that story about your friend.  Who after receiving her diagnosis sought to make plans for dying with dignity.  I fully respect and endorse that decision.  There’s something to be said for a society that has the humanity to live and let die.

I am very sorry for your recent series of losses.

Appreciate your reply. The silence here absent one small dog is deafening

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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28 May 2019 17:02
 
Dennis Campbell - 28 May 2019 01:38 PM

Let me be more specific re this title.  Not, repeat not, to elicit replies of sympathy; they’re more to ease the discomfort of the originator than that of the recipient.  My good friend, named Diane also by coincidence a psychologist and living next door to us, took her own life April 1, 2019, at 7:15 AM as she’d planned for the last two years given her diagnosis of Alzheimers 9 years ago.  She was 64. 

My wife, also named Diane, died April 29, 2019, at 2:00 AM five days after being placed in a CBRF from an Independent Living facility in which we’d lived for the last three years. She’d been declining for the last several years.  We were married for 26 years. Our costs here had been about $4,200 a month to provide social (not medical) opportunities over the last three years.  The cost for the CBRF was about $7,200 a month.  I elected to move to a less expensive place close by with my dog of the last ten years to reduce expenses from more than $12,000 a month. But my wife died after five days, while I was in the middle of down-sizing, donating, and generally overwhelmed.

I moved into a studio apartment close by, with our small blind dog, Xandy.  Then she died May 5 of a liver malfunction.  Now I’m living alone apart from a potted plant. Life is not great now, and a tad more depressing than I’d anticipated. Some points:

1. Establish a trust, avoids Probate. Don’t bother if you’ve less than 50k in total wealth as a guess.  Not for you, you’re dead, but for your survivors.

2. Pre-arrange funeral contracts.  I was hit with over $5,000 in charges for my wife just for cremation only.  That same could be had for less than $1,500.  Funeral services are legal crime exploiting ignorant and stressed survivors.

3. Expect little apart from initial condolences from associates.  You may be avoided.  No one is comfortable with such a situation.

Wish the best to all here. The end of life tends to be shitty. 

Dennis

We just heard this morning that a family friend is on her way out, hours or a day or two at most. We’ll be going up to help her daughter out with a bit of cleaning, and such, mainly offering moral support.

Agree with your points: have all the legal and monetary points in line. Also, for funerals there’s a group called Neptune Society that can provide relatively inexpensive cremation, around $1,500 as you indicate.

Best wishes for you Dennis.

 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 17:04
 
icehorse - 28 May 2019 04:50 PM

Our thoughts are with you Dennis, and I’m happy to see you post, even if in such a sad context. You’ve been missed!

Your post seems to be such that I’d like to hear your thoughts on my situation (anyone else is of course free to chime in):

My Mom is 88. She’s currently in an assisted living place that she can’t afford, so I’ve found her a roommate who:

- seems to be a fine, honest person
- needs a place to live
- likes the idea of exchanging room, board and a small stipend for cooking, cleaning, and shopping for my Mom, and in general looking out for her.

I would characterize my Mom as stubborn, in denial, making bad decisions, but still mentally “competent”. Given her finances, I think that a roommate is by far her best option. She’s being stubborn and resistant and trying to chase her potential new roomie away. I have general POA.

So, my thoughts from an ethical perspective are that just because someone is old and making bad decisions, that doesn’t mean they should lose control of their life. My thoughts as her son who loves her is that if she chases this roomie away she could end up in some sort of horrible “ward of the state” housing situation and lose her home.

I think that if she was in exactly the same mental state, and she was 50, most of us would agree that it’s her life to live. Does that change because she’s 88?

So i don’t know whether to continue to merely advise her and try to talk some sense into her, or whether I need to exercise POA and force the situation?

Using the POA implies you take over her life.  That might be well justified but it is a huge decision fought with risk to everyone. I’ve no facile answer. At times I’d like someone to do that for me….for about 10 seconds.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 17:09
 
burt - 28 May 2019 05:02 PM
Dennis Campbell - 28 May 2019 01:38 PM

Let me be more specific re this title.  Not, repeat not, to elicit replies of sympathy; they’re more to ease the discomfort of the originator than that of the recipient.  My good friend, named Diane also by coincidence a psychologist and living next door to us, took her own life April 1, 2019, at 7:15 AM as she’d planned for the last two years given her diagnosis of Alzheimers 9 years ago.  She was 64. 

My wife, also named Diane, died April 29, 2019, at 2:00 AM five days after being placed in a CBRF from an Independent Living facility in which we’d lived for the last three years. She’d been declining for the last several years.  We were married for 26 years. Our costs here had been about $4,200 a month to provide social (not medical) opportunities over the last three years.  The cost for the CBRF was about $7,200 a month.  I elected to move to a less expensive place close by with my dog of the last ten years to reduce expenses from more than $12,000 a month. But my wife died after five days, while I was in the middle of down-sizing, donating, and generally overwhelmed.

I moved into a studio apartment close by, with our small blind dog, Xandy.  Then she died May 5 of a liver malfunction.  Now I’m living alone apart from a potted plant. Life is not great now, and a tad more depressing than I’d anticipated. Some points:

1. Establish a trust, avoids Probate. Don’t bother if you’ve less than 50k in total wealth as a guess.  Not for you, you’re dead, but for your survivors.

2. Pre-arrange funeral contracts.  I was hit with over $5,000 in charges for my wife just for cremation only.  That same could be had for less than $1,500.  Funeral services are legal crime exploiting ignorant and stressed survivors.

3. Expect little apart from initial condolences from associates.  You may be avoided.  No one is comfortable with such a situation.

Wish the best to all here. The end of life tends to be shitty. 

Dennis

We just heard this morning that a family friend is on her way out, hours or a day or two at most. We’ll be going up to help her daughter out with a bit of cleaning, and such, mainly offering moral support.

Agree with your points: have all the legal and monetary points in line. Also, for funerals there’s a group called Neptune Society that can provide relatively inexpensive cremation, around $1,500 as you indicate.

Best wishes for you Dennis.

Check into Funeral Consumers Alliance.  They negotiate fees for you and they’re not stressed with grief while doing so.  Do not know their costs but less than your local funeral home I’m sure

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 17:52
 

To repeat my intentions on this topic, this is not meant to be pity party. Sure, I’m very depressed but that’s not the issue.  I suspect depression,which is often a quite rational state given these circumstances,is more often true than not. But apart from that, maybe I and others can offer more useful information and/or ideas that can have some functional value that might serve to reduce depression and/or stress to others.

Eliminate depression? Bullshit. Absent depression there’s no basis for joy nor wisdom.  Granted, if I had a loaded gun right now I’d consider using it on myself. And that would not be some disaster.  Not, quite, there yet.  My neighbor who killed herself April 1 did the right thing IMO. Using gun is messy and uncertain; she used nitrogen as supervised by Final Exit. 

Apart from suicide, which sort of ends the conversation, people like me at or nearing the end of life are too often faced with isolation and lack of communication.  Or purpose in living.  I’ve no glib answer to those issues.  We’re all going to die, obviously, it is to me only important as to how that happens and what someone has done prior to that event. Somehow trying to get a small dog to live here is most important for selfish reasons. That’s not philosophically resounding but true.

By the way, given the danger of this this thread devolving into a “poor me” thread please feel free to kick me in my ass if I’m doing that.  Not, of course, that I don’t deserve…...See?!  Time for an ass kick

[ Edited: 28 May 2019 18:06 by Dennis Campbell]
 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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28 May 2019 18:20
 
Dennis Campbell - 28 May 2019 05:52 PM

To repeat my intentions on this topic, this is not meant to be pity party. Sure, I’m very depressed but that’s not the issue.  I suspect depression,which is often a quite rational state given these circumstances,is more often true than not. But apart from that, maybe I and others can offer more useful information and/or ideas that can have some functional value that might serve to reduce depression and/or stress to others.

Eliminate depression? Bullshit. Absent depression there’s no basis for joy nor wisdom.  Granted, if I had a loaded gun right now I’d consider using it on myself. And that would not be some disaster.  Not, quite, there yet.  My neighbor who killed herself April 1 did the right thing IMO. Using gun is messy and uncertain; she used nitrogen as supervised by Final Exit. 

Apart from suicide, which sort of ends the conversation, people like me at or nearing the end of life are too often faced with isolation and lack of communication.  Or purpose in living.  I’ve no glib answer to those issues.  We’re all going to die, obviously, it is to me only important as to how that happens and what someone has done prior to that event. Somehow trying to get a small dog to live here is most important for selfish reasons. That’s not philosophically resounding but true.

By the way, given the danger of this this thread devolving into a “poor me” thread please feel free to kick me in my ass if I’m doing that.  Not, of course, that I don’t deserve…...See?!  Time for an ass kick

Regardless of your intentions on this topic, it’s difficult not to be concerned.  It isn’t pity.  What is it they say, that ‘doctors make the worst patients’?  I imagine that goes for psychologists too.  What would you say and do for a patient in your situation?  Please provide yourself with the same care.  Of course it is normal to be overwhelmed and to grieve, but it is not okay for you to think that it’s not a disaster to end your life if you aren’t physically ill.  Please, don’t let yourself slip into thinking that way.  Give yourself a good ass kick if need be.  And it is not selfish to get a small dog – you could go to the animal shelter tomorrow.

[ Edited: 28 May 2019 18:23 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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28 May 2019 18:24
 

Jan_CAN - 28 May 2019 06:20 PM
Dennis Campbell - 28 May 2019 05:52 PM

To repeat my intentions on this topic, this is not meant to be pity party. Sure, I’m very depressed but that’s not the issue.  I suspect depression,which is often a quite rational state given these circumstances,is more often true than not. But apart from that, maybe I and others can offer more useful information and/or ideas that can have some functional value that might serve to reduce depression and/or stress to others.

Eliminate depression? Bullshit. Absent depression there’s no basis for joy nor wisdom.  Granted, if I had a loaded gun right now I’d consider using it on myself. And that would not be some disaster.  Not, quite, there yet.  My neighbor who killed herself April 1 did the right thing IMO. Using gun is messy and uncertain; she used nitrogen as supervised by Final Exit. 

Apart from suicide, which sort of ends the conversation, people like me at or nearing the end of life are too often faced with isolation and lack of communication.  Or purpose in living.  I’ve no glib answer to those issues.  We’re all going to die, obviously, it is to me only important as to how that happens and what someone has done prior to that event. Somehow trying to get a small dog to live here is most important for selfish reasons. That’s not philosophically resounding but true.

By the way, given the danger of this this thread devolving into a “poor me” thread please feel free to kick me in my ass if I’m doing that.  Not, of course, that I don’t deserve…...See?!  Time for an ass kick

Regardless of your intentions on this topic, it’s difficult not to be concerned.  It isn’t pity.  What is it they say, that ‘doctors make the worst patients’?  I imagine that goes for psychologists too.  What would you say and do for a patient in your situation?  Please provide yourself with the same care.  Of course it is normal to be overwhelmed and to grieve, but it is not okay for you to think that it’s not a disaster to end your life if you aren’t physically ill.  Please, don’t let yourself slip into thinking that way.  Give yourself a good ass kick if need be.  And it is not selfish to get a small dog – go to the animal shelter tomorrow.

Bah humbug!  I’m a psychologist, I know everything!  Well….some things.. Something??!  Anything?  I’m going to go to bed and hopefully will wake up wiser.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 May 2019 19:45
 

I think its a good thing to reflect upon. Facing death squarely is one of the essential ways that we find our true convictions and true character. I appreciate what you say about depression. I have nothing to say about depressive disorders but I do think there is value in accepting that human experience has a natural spectrum. Our peaks are defined by our valleys.

I’m interested in your reflections if you care to share. When you consider mortality as a predicament do you have an experience of injustice? Does it seem wrong to you that we must die and experience the loss of those we love? I feel this way even if I can’t really defend the logic of it. If so is there is a spectrum? Is the loss of a younger person a greater injustice than the loss of an older person? Not on an analytical level but simply in terms of how the experience is processed. For myself there hasn’t been much consistency with how I process loss. Sometimes its blunt and sudden and unbearable. Sometimes it’s melancholy. Sometimes I have felt relief at the passing of another person and subsequent guilt for that relief. The differences seem random. Sometimes I feel very little grief and I have no idea why. I was close to the person and I miss them but that emotion is just absent.

I’d welcome reflections from anyone. I think it’s an important thing to discuss.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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28 May 2019 20:44
 

Whatever you do, Dennis, try to stay active. I ride bicycles and motorcycles, pedaling to exercise my right hip, and riding to give my wrists and hands a workout. I realize 2-wheeling can be a hazardous hobby, but for me, it’s worth the risk! Best luck.

 
 
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