Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 Days in Hell...a Cautionary tale

Even now when I look back on the 10 days in September 2009, I can't believe how close we came to total disaster. It took his death to release us from the hell we were in.

Dad had not been well. He had been dealing effectively with his compounding health issues for many years. He was on home dialisys and had endured multiple surgieries over many years all in efforts to keep him alive and vital. And for the most part the cocktail of drugs and treatments worked. But we all new that one day something would happen to change things.

That day happened when he was told that due to gangrene and the serious potential of blood poisining his leg would have to be amputated. He did not take the news well. For a man who been mobile and active his entire life, this was not good news.

We did the best we could to cope with the situation. We had been through this before. Heck, we had even been through his heart surgery during the SARS episode in Toronto years ago. We figured we could deal with this.

First step in the plan: sell the house in Orangeville and move into an apartment in Mississauga closer to his primary-care hospital. We put the house up for sale and after a couple of false starts, got it sold with a firm offer and closing date of October 1. We then found a great assisted care place and signed lease in great anticipation.

The move never happened.

In early September Dad suffered a major heart attack and went into a coma. Thus began our descent into hell as we faced the reality that if he did not come out of his coma, the house deal would not close on October 1. You see, although my parents had a will, they did not have Power of Attorney documents. Dad would need to sign the legal documents. This was not going to happen.

For 10 days until September 25, 2 days after he died, we turned over every legal leaf in our efforts to find a way to close the deal. There was none: they would be sued if the deal did not close.

Since then I have been asked many times what it was like to have gone through that experience. Truthfully I have no answer. There are too many mixed emotions. I do know however that a good way to never let this happen to you is to put your financial business in order now. Get your will updated, but more importantly, get your Power of Attorney done. If you don't, you run the risk of finding our what hell really is.

PS: As you might expect, this was a tough post to write. And since I thought of it last week while running, it took another week to get up the courage to post it. Part of the healing process I guess.


  1. Hi Chris, Cathy told me this morning to read your latest blog. If you emotionally are up to it check out Label: Death of Len. I there have been slowly telling the story of my brother’s death 2 1/2 years ago. I understand what you are and have been going through. As hard as it is for me to write and relive the pain and sadness I think it is helping me sort through my emotions and hopefully make me a stronger person.

    Good for you for posting what can be difficult to talk about.

  2. Hi Carolin. Wow. First of all, thank you for posting your comment. I appreciate it very much.

    I read all your posts. I cried when I read each one. Thank you for sharing. It helps me deal with my grief.


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