I have some heavy stuff on my mind today and need some advice.
My dad is 81. My parents split up in 1986 and since then he has lived alone apart from short periods where either my brother or I have lived with him. He lives in a two-bedroom apartment, which he bought when he retired in 2001 and absolutely loves, in a small city south of Vancouver.
For the last few years he has been sending me info on, say, his personal directive or the memorial society he has contracted to handle his funeral, etc., and I have always been <fingers in ears> LA-LA-LA-LA because I don't want to hear about it.
Also, some of the information changes over time - I will get a flurry of emails changing this or that term in his personal directive, for example - and I find it hard to keep track.
I visited him last weekend and it hit me hard that, cognitively and physically, he has declined a lot in the past few months. He has just been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He is also finding it harder than ever to follow conversations - cognitively, I mean, not because of his hearing difficulties - and remember things. He has less energy than when I last visited him, in July, and is sleeping a lot more. I guess I have to admit that he is not going to live forever - not that I think he will die in the next few months, but still. It's coming.
Family dynamics: my brother and I barely know each other so sorting things out together after my father's death will likely be challenging. My brother is sole executor. So I'm thinking that I need to start talking with my dad now about - where is your most recent personal directive? Who is going to call me if something happens (he has an emergency service that responds if he has a fall and checks on him)? Do you want a funeral, or a memorial service, and if so, where, and what songs do you want, and are there any readings you want, etc.?
I'm going back to visit him next week, capitalising on a work trip I'm taking anyway to spend a couple of extra days with him. I know I need to start the conversation, but I'm not even sure what all I need to ask him. Wise forum women: what do I need to know? What do you wish your parents had told you, or would tell you?