Hoarding Woes: Milestones in Life’s Passage

Many months have been spent building comfort between my Aunt and our family. A particularly touchy subject has been estate planning….planning for the end of life. Two themes were discussed and re-discussed: a Living Trust and Advanced Directives re medical decisions. Both of these were problematic because my 93 y/o Aunt had/has no intention of going anywhere and leaving her vast hoarded possessions behind…let alone bequeathing them to anyone.

So, on and on it went. Circular discussions coupled with, at times, a poor memory. Discussions of this nephew and that niece and how they had not done this or that. I can tell you that your worth in an elder’s mind can often be summed up by how often a year you drop a note, a picture, make a phone call. Heaven help you if you ever fail to repeatedly acknowledge a gift or token of a gift.

So, after much discussion and many lists, a rough draft of a ‘will’ was devised and percentages allocated. Hard to discuss because it invites the obvious…the end. And, in her mind it invites what will happen to her stuff and will it be respected. We have always differentiated between ‘stuff’ and ‘treasures’. Most important to her are her treasures.

In the end, we all agreed there is only trust. Trust the documents signed and filed will protect her and trust that those assigned to implement the process later will do what is right. Trust.

So, my Aunt signed her name. Signed her ‘Living Trust’ and signed her Advanced Directive. Then we went shopping and bought some groceries. She was dazed. I asked, “Are you ok?”  “Are you ok with what you just did, or scared?” She responded she was ok with it all. I assured her with a hug and an in the eye response, that nothing would change in her life. Trust….trust in me, trust in the safeguards, trust in more time.


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