The day is cold, and dark, and dreary.
It rains, and the wind is never weary.
The Rainy Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1842
I grew up as an only child. My mother often teased about giving me a little sister or brother to which I vehemently contested. I liked having my own room, my own toys and ultimately having all of my mother’s love and attention to myself. Although she had a very demanding career her entire world outside of work revolved around me. It wasn’t until I was well into my twenties; I understood the emotional and physical sacrifices she made. Some might have called me “spoiled”; I called myself blessed. I was grateful to have a mother whose sole concern in life was to ensure my continued success when she no longer could.
Planning for a Rainy Day
My mom worked for one of the oldest insurance companies in the world. She worked there since she was 17 years old, received several promotions, and retired as a Vice President. Working for a life insurance company gave her an amplified advantage of health care and long-term care benefits that were available on the market. Her company created, managed, and sold many of the health care and insurance products that are still in use today. As a child, she bought me my first life insurance policy and invested in the best health insurance plan for me. She began teaching me the value of planning for a “rainy day”. I would cringe when she would insist that I save part of my allowance for that proverbial “rainy day”. I often thought “what is so bad about a rainy day? Why is it so important to be prepared?” I was healthy and my mom was healthy; surely this money could be used now to buy something cool. As children, all we see is sunshine. When I moved away from home, my mom would send me a large packet each year that contained her life insurance benefit statements, health care plan information, and investment fund portfolios. Each year I dreaded “the talk” that would follow after she tracked the package to confirm I had received it. She would say “if something happens to me, I have coordinated all of my care arrangements for you. You will have nothing to worry about.” I didn’t want to think about something happening to my parents. It did the exact opposite – it gave me something to worry about. I would take the package and throw it in my bottom drawer of my nightstand where it would sit for the rest of the year.
In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet’s flow,
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.
Children by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1842
As I got older, something phenomenal happened – my parents got older too! To my surprise, I realized I had the oldest parents amongst my friends. In my late twenties, my parents were already in their early sixties. My father had been battling kidney disease my whole life but he was my superhero. Even while on dialysis, he never seemed to be in any sort of “battle” that he couldn’t handle. My Dad began to coordinate his long-term care in his thirties because he knew he would have a bumpy road ahead of him. I found out later that he had been very sick since I was a teenager and had a kidney transplant which forced him to retire in his early fifties. But he never stopped showing up for me whenever I needed him.
My mom, on the other hand, had a few ailments but they were managed by medication. She was very health conscious. I never saw her afflicted with anything more serious than a runny nose. She never took time off work because she was sick. My mom chose to take a break and retire early to help care for my dad. I’m grateful for her sacrifice. My dad passed away from kidney failure on October 25, 2016.
Does anyone have 20/20 Vision?
With that heading alone I could stop here. We all know 2020 was a poster child for calamity and disaster. Anything horrible that could happen was bound to happen in 2020.
After the death of my father, I made sure I spoke to my mother every day. There was never a 24-hour period of time that would go by where we didn’t speak on the phone or text. On April 25, 2020, I had been feverishly trying to reach my mother. I had planned to visit her that weekend to help her get settled into her new home in Virginia. She finally moved out of the big city of New York and was set to enjoy her ranch style home in the country where you could age in place. I couldn’t reach her all day. I tried again early the next morning and her phone was dead. I called my Uncle as he lives around the corner from my mom and I called 911 to do a wellness check. My Uncle confirmed my absolute worst fear: my mom was found on her family room floor unresponsive. She was rushed to a nearby Emergency Room.
I had a 9 hour drive from Georgia to Virginia and it was already late evening. Even at the world’s busiest airport, there were no flights that could get me to Virginia that same night. I would have to drive. I cried and ran around my house frantically for what I was told was only a few minutes but seemed like hours. Then something clicked. As if I had been programmed, I went to the bottom drawer of my nightstand and grabbed all of my mother’s insurance documents, power of attorney, account information, and my birth certificate. All of the things my mom sent me for that “rainy day”. Although, it was uncomfortable to have those conversations with my mom about her long-term health care plans, I must have been listening. I finally experienced the rain and I had to deploy the past twenty years of my training. I was prepared for this moment.
When I got to the hospital in Virginia, I had all of the information the doctors and surgeons needed. They told me that my mom had suffered a subdural hematoma. The bleeding on her brain caused her to fall unconscious and she was having severe seizures. At this point, I had not spoken to my mother in over 48 hours. My mom had been in this state for 2 days before she was found. She was transferred to ICU and put on a ventilator. I could see her through the glass doors.
Yet, I was composed.
My mother prepared me.
Meloni K Boatswain
The neurosurgeons didn’t waste any time in performing surgery to remove the blood that was pooling around her brain. Less than an hour after surgery, the nurses Face Timed me and I could see that my mom was awake.
“Mom? Are you ok?” she responded by nodding her head.
My mom had made preparation for the day she would not be able to care for herself. She always told me she never wanted to be a burden on me or anyone else in the family. Of course, caring for my mother would not have been burdensome. I would have done anything and given up everything to guarantee my mom’s well-being. But I didn’t have to. She was prepared. All hospital bill payments, rehabilitation services, in home services, and long-term care plans had been taken care of long before this “rainy day”.
My mom had coordinated her life and long-term care goals. Life Coordinated™ is something we should all be thinking about well before we need it. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, any of us can experience a rainy day. Centipede Care Solutions is here for your family.
We are changing health care to “help care”®. This is what you need when times are hard – help. Our team of Help Care experts will guarantee that you or your loved one is well prepared to thrive in the place of their choosing safely and with dignity. My experience has taught me to never take for granted the time and opportunity to plan. It’s never too early, but it could possibly be too late.
About the Author: Meloni K Boatswain, MBA, PMP®, LEED AP BD+C
Meloni K Boatswain, MBA, PMP®, LEED AP BD+C leads the Environmental Services Management (ESM) Program for CENTIPEDE Care Solutions LLC. She is a recognized construction management professional and technology innovator who is passionate about empowering individuals to thrive in place.