Saturday, October 6, 2018

Life goes on...

Yesterday at one o'clock in the afternoon my sister and I were invited to meet with a physician's assistant and a social worker at the Ottawa Civic Hospital where our 92 year old mother was recently hospitalized following a stroke. We were told that her death is imminent. Apart from palliative care there is nothing further to be done to improve her condition. Naturally there is no certainty regarding her life expectancy - possibly days or weeks - but not likely beyond six months. We immediately began the process of winding up current arrangements (newspaper subscription, massage, dental and hair appointments, manicures and pedicures and residency lease).  Funeral arrangements were made years ago.  An inter vivos trust agreement was already similarly established. A Power of Attorney for Property Management and Personal Care is in place as well as her last Will and Testament.  Only days ago I received from Canada Revenue Agency a Tax Clearance for Distribution Purposes for the estate of my late father who died at 95 years of age on April 8, 2014. Documents for my mother's income tax reporting for 2018 are prepared for delivery to her chartered public accountant before I leave for the winter. Last week I met with her financial advisor to complete the annual performance report of her investment portfolio.  About ten days ago I prepared her draft obituary which I reviewed with her one late summer afternoon in the garden of her retirement residence.

Considering the longevity of my parents it is not surprising that their affairs are in order.  It wasn't however a process which was accomplished without effort. As lately as last week my mother bemoaned the sale of her former house which she and my father built over 50 years ago.  Though my mother persisted to imagine that she could manage the property and deal with the 2-storey dwelling, it was an absurd preoccupation in view of her declining health and mental capacity. It was also shortly before my father's death that we concluded the sale of 200 acres belonging to my parents in New Brunswick, property which had been in the family for several generations and which my mother senselessly imagined would remain so.

The inevitability of a parent's mortality never fails to promote its proximity to the children who are destined to become orphans. When parents have enjoyed a largely healthful and prolonged existence it is manifestly appropriate - if not indeed imperative - that the living children should be grateful and philosophic. It hardly bears repeating that under such circumstances one should do everything to relish what time and opportunity remains. Speaking for myself I have always maintained that life owes me nothing. This unqualified gratitude heightens every detail of my unfulfilled ambition.  I can honestly say that I suffer neither regret nor misfortune.  Whatever follows is pure gravy. I too have sought to organize my personal affairs to assure the same fluidity that my parents have succeeded to accomplish. It is perhaps serendipitous that in spite of my materialism I haven't chained myself to adventitious factors. I consider that the limited objects which remain within my personal sphere represent the distilled essence of what I adore.  In that respect life goes on but only by imperceptible degrees and vicariously.

As usual I translate change into possibility. It is never long before I view any path as just another road. Often I comment that nothing happens without a reason; and similarly that there is a reason things happen.  Basically we make it happen. This fortuity isn't to be confused with a narrow objective. The estimate of its success is limited only by one's capacity for interpretation and an element of focus.  I have willingly learned to accept my compass of performance, by which I mean I am neither despondent nor egregious. Admittedly this posture borders on gloating triumph but I prefer to consider it open-mindedness and pragmatism. If nothing else it has enabled me to crystallize my parameters (though some say it is a disguised partiality). Fortunately for me I am cheerfully motivated by limited achievement.  At least from my metaphors arise a degree of enlargement. I am a sucker for idioms especially my personal dialect.  And raw vegetables.

No comments:

Post a Comment