Nothing in the world had prepared me for both parents suffering severe strokes. Life as I knew it changed instantly. Tragically, neither of them recovered and they passed away within six months of each other. Whilst dealing with all their medical needs and speaking to doctors and consultants, deciding the best course of action, which hospital or care home would best cater their needs, I still had to deal with all their finances.
They had always been very open about their financial affairs and tried to make sure that I would be able to deal with everything but even the best made plans never really work out the way we imagine. And did I fully listen to them at the time? I never imagined it would really happen from one moment to the next, so nothing prepared me. The heartache, mixed with the stress of quickly having to get to grips of finding exactly where papers were kept, made me decide that I could go one step further in helping my children.
As my father was passing away, the doctor asked for the name and model of his defibrillator. Dad had always been meticulous in keeping these details on a card in his jacket pocket. However, since his stroke, he had been in several hospitals and a care home, so it was no longer with him. So those last couple of hours, when I should have been sitting with him or taking in what was happening, I anxiously sat on the phone making one call after the other trying to get the information. To further complicate matters, it was a Sunday - it was all so traumatic. I then learnt that hospital records are not linked, which is why it is so important for each of us to have up-to-date medical information to hand, in case needed.
When Debbie mentioned what she wanted to do, I felt compelled to join her and produce these forms together. Tragically, a close friend's son passed away at a young age, leaving behind a grieving widow and three children, the youngest being only three years old. Who expects to be diagnosed with cancer and when it happened, he had no time to start sorting out his finances - his battle had to be to find whatever treatments he could, in order to survive. The treatments were grueling and he had to spend months abroad participating in medical trials desperately trying to save his life.
Everything happened so quickly, he never had the chance to talk to his wife about finances and because he hadn't been able to work for months, his business affairs were left in tangles and no one knew anything. Family members had to literally sift through piles of paperwork, accounts and bills to try and make sense of everything. This was all whilst trying to come to terms with their own grief and shock of what had happened.
After sharing experiences with friends, we both realised that we had all suffered more anguish than we needed to, at a time that was so devastating to begin with. Hence we have put these Forms together and hope that they will help to take some of the stress away.