22nd November 2017
When I first met Angela Calver 22 years ago I knew there was something special about her. Ange has a knack for challenging, motivating and inspiring her friends, family members and co-workers alike, and bringing out the best in people comes naturally to her.
In the middle of 2016 Angela and I discussed her new business concept, LifeLot. She showed me the range of templates she'd been developing in order to collate and organise vital information about a person's life, and asked if I would be her first test dummy. My parents are elderly, and I've lost several people close to me in sudden and tragic circumstances. This left us without answers to what their final wishes may have been, or instructions on how to close down their affairs.
I was excited to explore the potential of how the LifeLot concept would help smooth over and take some of the stress out of these situations.
With the templates given in hand, I braced myself, picked up the phone and arranged a family meeting – a set time to sit with my parents to go over these questions, some of them pretty confronting. After all, these aren't conversations that you can just bring up out of the blue one day over the phone - "So, dad, have you thought about moving to a rest home?"
As we worked our way through the templates, we discussed advanced care planning, resuscitation, funeral wishes and memories. The chats evolved into deeper discussions, such as my dad's biggest regret and biggest life lesson. In that moment I learned so much about my dad; things I wouldn't have known if I hadn't asked. I find myself with newfound awareness and empathy. It made me realize that I should have asked these questions a long time ago.
The timing couldn’t have been better, shortly after these meaningful conversations my 81-year-old father was hit by two strokes in quick succession. Although his recovery has been excellent, he unfortunately remains unable to communicate properly. Those amazing conversations we had are no longer possible.
I am grateful for the time spent with both my parents discussing plans for their golden years, and we are all comfortable knowing that their wishes will be carried out. It somehow made his shocking turn in health easier to deal with as I knew his wishes. I knew what he wanted me to do in these circumstances.
This is something we all need to do, I will be having these life conversations with the rest of my family and friends. Thanks Ange... LifeLot has been my lifesaver.
As weeks, months and years fly by, we are all missing opportunities to talk about real things - important things - with our parents. There are things that only they can answer or explain. Sadly, the reality is that when they pass, many of those answers, explanations and stories will go with them.
So why are we wasting time? Why don't we ask them the questions that would explain events that shaped them, decisions they made and important lessons they learned? Questions that would yield new insights, understanding and compassion... for people we think we know so well?
It's simple to set up, free to try, and it can make a world of difference for your family if something happens to you.