For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.I hate to get too morbid, but it’s a fact that a fair number of elderly folks are going to die over the next few months. And as Marian and I discovered when her father died a few years ago, dying is not a simple thing in the 21st century. Her father was a pretty organized guy, but it still took months to sort everything out. There were just so many things that neither he nor we had thought of. Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery is going through the same thing right now:
My dad did not die of the coronavirus. He died of acute myeloid leukemia, first diagnosed at Christmas of 2018. But his final days, as we moved from hospital to home to hospice, were stalked by the virus. Every day the protocols got tighter, though not tight enough soon enough. Would we still be able to visit him? How many in the room? What if someone had come from abroad? When did each of us need to leave to get ahead of travel restrictions and home to our own families? What would happen when all the things you need to do after someone dies are upended or impossible?
So I say to you: You need to get on top of your parents’ personal information, the tools that you will need if they are hospitalized or die. And you need to do it right now.
If you’re anywhere near this situation—or could be thanks to the coronavirus pandemic—the whole piece is worth reading. It’s not pleasant, but if the worst happens it will be well worth it.