Last summer I hired a woman-owned firm* to cut our grass. A chance conversation about my work on end of life issues opened a flood gate of gratitude to her mother. Astounded, my reaction was “Wow! Your mom sounds like The Poster Child for planning ahead. Please write this story for my website!”
Audrey DeWitt was in perfectly good health. Never a procrastinator, she blessed her only child by developing a focused, logical plan so that her Final Exit was squeaky clean: no loose ends or financial burdens. The grateful daughter speaks:
- As a healthy 60-something, my mom started donating and recycling her unwanted belongings. Not unusual, I realize, but with “end of life” in mind, she took her preparations seriously.
- She created a Living Will, with medical directives.
- An executor of her estate was named.
- Financial and household gifts were written to state “who” got “what” from her estate.
- Bank accounts now included her daughter’s name.
- Her daughter was named as the sole beneficiary.
- Systematically, she whittled down her photos: remaining photos were organized, with written identifications.
- A local funeral home planned her cremation.
- All services were prepaid.
- Her final act of generosity? She told her daughter to host a luncheon for friends and family after her memorial service—and gave her a small insurance policy to pay for it.
Lynda DeWitt ends by saying: “My mother did not do these things because I was disorganized or broke. She did them because she loved me and she wanted to take care of me in my grief. I had always felt loved by my mother, but never more than after she died — rather suddenly at age 77.”
Isn’t this a good lesson? Her final gift…proven to illustrate the unbreakable bond of love between a mother and her daughter…will never fade away.