Some days I feel like a real-life Little Orphan Annie whose life should be subtitled “Death Becomes Her.” When I was 16, my father passed away at the age of 48. A few years later, we moved my grandmother to an assisted living home where she passed shortly thereafter.
Several years later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. My mother’s passing left me with five houses to clean out and sell, as well as assuming her role as caregiver for my uncle, who was in the late stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Last fall, my uncle passed away and I’ve assumed the role of Co-Executrix of his estate.
I’ve been there. I have been totally overwhelmed with all the work that came with managing the business of death and dying. I’ve managed end-of-life care, including nursing homes, home-health aides, medications, doctors and hospice. I’ve hired attorneys in three different states. I’ve managed multiple estate sales, a trust for an estranged family member as well as the distribution of a multitude of
bequeathed property. I’ve fought insurance companies for payment, transitioned banking and investment accounts and tackled mountains of paperwork. I’ve worried over whether I was making the best decisions according to the wishes of my loved ones. I’ve been at the side of many deathbeds, holding the hands of my father, mother and uncle while they passed. Each step has been a learning experience, which I’ve tried to approach with humor and laughter, knowing it truly is the best medicine.
I founded Black Dress Consultants to help those in the same difficult position. Our mission is to serve as your ally for legacy planning and as a guide for navigating end-of-life decisions.