My friend G’s father passed away late last night after fighting the good fight with cancer for more than 10 years. No matter how expected the death, it is still a bit of a shock when it finally happens. Friend G’s “pops” he has known and loved his whole live – G said his heart stopped beating and his chest fell that final time 12:17 a.m. and 46 seconds on the clock. He was watching his pops’ face and not the clock, but when the monitors began their signal lost buzz he looked up and the clock and recorded the time.
G is an only child, which makes thing both easier and harder for him. His mother is elderly and was extraordinarily dependent upon her husband. Her health has also been faltering the last few years, and G and I have spoken at length about what his dad’s passing will mean beyond the grief of loss. Mom and dad have been in an assisted living facility for the last year, until his dad had to be moved to a hospice facility. I feel great sadness for G and his family at this time.
This latest friend saying goodbye to a parent has me thinking about families and family dynamics. It seems to me in every family there is some “glue” that keeps it together, that keeps the clan members gathering and communicating and in touch with one another. If not it seems you become like my family of origin, where we are around each other, sort of, and typically only out of a sense of obligation. There was no glue there, even before my sister and I arrived on the scene.
In my kids’ dad’s family, it’s his parents. They are wonderful people, and even though I have been divorced for their son for decades, I still think very highly of them and admire the very caring, loving, inclusive ways they have ensured my kids stayed part of the family fold. C speaks with trepidation about what will happen when they are gone, about whether or not she will still see her aunt and uncles and cousins. I am reassuring; her aunt has been slowly assuming the glue mantle for several years now as her parents age and wish to simplify family gatherings.
For M and I, our family is so tiny with just the kids and us it seems like we are all in this together. Should something happen to me before M, I believe the kids will look after him as best they are capable and as much as he will allow it. I believe he will grow more crotchety as the years pass and becomes less capable of doing things for himself. Time will tell.
But hopefully we have a lot of years to left before worries about becoming frailer and less capable overcome us. Hopefully the time and effort we are putting forth toward better health now will pay dividends later. Hopefully it is not too late.
I had a meeting with our insurance broker today, and health insurance premiums are going up 20%. Ugh. However, for that 20% you get a slightly lower deductible and a lower maximum out-of-pocket. For most of the staff the increase is not terrible; the highest increase in their portion of the premium is $26 per month. For me, the lone person going from Kaiser back to Anthem, I go from $0 out of pocket to $326 per month. I am not delighted but I am not terribly upset, either. I will feel much better back with doctors I trust even if I am not using them all that much these days.
Friend G’s news today just reminds me M and I are getting older, and we need doctors we can depend upon and trust. Kaiser would be a good choice for M – he who only goes to the doctor when something seems wrong or off – but since I am the primary health care consumer and have the chronic condition, I need access to the specialists who make things make sense for me. My peace of mind is worth the monthly premium.
Because I am part of the glue that keeps my tribe together. I need to stick around and see watch the rest of the story.
And with that, I am off to bed to read for awhile and get some sleep. Training Thursday at 7 tomorrow, and we’re back to a different mode of exercise. I am very excited about it.