Home > Dealing with the impending death of a loved one

Dealing with the impending death of a loved one

February 4th, 2021 at 01:59 am

My cousin, who has been like a brother to me, was diagnosed with cancer about 3 years ago. From the start, we knew it was inoperable/incurable. He has done a few rounds of chemo and a course of radiation and he has actually done extremely well... until just recently. His last scan showed that the last chemo just didn't work and the cancer progressed. He still felt fine, though, which was great. However, over the past few weeks, he has started to decline and have obvious symptoms to indicate that the cancer is taking over.

We don't know how much longer he has but I suspect it won't be terribly long. One tough thing is that we're in NJ and he's in FL. That would be hard enough anyway and it's just worsened by the pandemic. It's not so easy to just fly down there to see him for a few days because we really should quarantine for 2 weeks after we get there. I'm already fully vaccinated but that still doesn't mean I couldn't transmit COVID to him. We're still deciding what to do and when. If his condition declines and he needs help, we'll just do what we need to because COVID really won't matter at that point. He's dying anyway.

There is a big financial piece to this story, too. I am the executor and sole beneficiary of his estate. Whenever he does die, I'm going to have to go down there for a while to settle his affairs, sell his cars, clean out and sell his house, etc.

I already notified my lead physician about this and she was super understanding and said not to worry at all about my shifts or coverage issues. She would handle all of that, even if I need to leave with no notice. Today she sent me the link to the leave of absence info for when I need to do that. I have no idea how long it will take to settle everything but I would think at least a month if everything moves quickly.

I reached out to our CPA as well just to give him a heads up that I'd be needing him to handle the estate tax filings. I'm trying to get as many ducks in a row as I can before I actually need them.

The emotional part sucks. The fact that he's going to die before my 90-year-old mother, who considers him like a son to her, really sucks. And she really wishes she could go down there but by her own admission she's really not up to it. We'll probably have to take her down for a few days at least just so she can see him one more time, which is going to be incredibly difficult for everyone. The whole thing just sucks.

Hug your loved ones. But also have a plan. Make sure your family/executor/heirs know what you have and where it is and how to access it. Make sure they know your wishes. My cousin and I sat down about 2 years ago and reviewed his entire situation, every account, the house, his cars, valuables, etc. so at least after he's gone, I won't be trying to piece it all together. I've even already been in touch with his financial adviser just so we could introduce ourselves and share contact info for when I need it.

Not really much else to say at this point.

12 Responses to “Dealing with the impending death of a loved one”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I am so sorry for your cousin. Would it make sense to just go now and quarantine and drive your wife and mom? I know you have a minivan and perhaps a leave of absence now makes sense and then you can also decide if you are going back to work at that point. The hardest part of covid I think is the fear of dying alone. Why not? IF you are the beneficiary and it will change your financial why not just go and take your mom? If you drive slowly maybe she can mange the drive?

    I know it would probably make a world of difference. To me my biggest fear was my dad or grandmother dying and fearing flying and catching covid and giving it to them. But now I'm okay. We saw them and I know we are turning a corner. But in your case I'd be there just because I want to be. I'd quarantine any which way and not worry about the cost.

  2. mumof2 Says:

    sorry to hear this....I would take the time to drive down and see him...he might really enjoy the company while he has will never get that time glad everything is in place for when he passes...Please don't take this the wrong way but I hope he goes quickly and peacefully...I know when my niece had leukemia it dragged on and she was barely awake ever...and we were actually relieved when she passed as all her pain and misery was gone...I don't mean to sound callous but just how I feel when we went through it...but maybe it was different as she was 4 and so was our daughter (cousins)...either way take the time if you can you won't regret will lways be there when you are ready to go back...{{{hugs}}}

  3. terri77 Says:

    I’m so sorry. And yes, this is a good reminder to have your affairs in order. My mom is in a bit of a mess right now dealing with my grandfather’s estate.

  4. Carol Says:

    So sorry, Steve.

  5. Wink Says:

    I am very sorry Steve. It is hard enough to go through this without also having to deal with COVID on top of it. So many families lost loved ones and were not able to be with them. It is really difficult and heartbreaking.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    Thanks everyone. I actually have a 5-day break coming up in just over a week. I think I'll set up to go down then to see him. Just have to decide if I'll go alone or if my wife and/or mother will come along.

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Are you able to see and spend the rest of the time now and go longer than 5 days? Maybe until the end? It doesn't sound like it could be much longer?

  8. CB in the City Says:

    I am so sorry, Steve. My thoughts are with you.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    Steve, so sorry about this. It isn't easy, I'm sure. What a blessing you are to your cousin because he knows you will take care and follow his wishes. You are right, it is important to plan ahead.

  10. LuckyRobin Says:

    That's rough. Having time to say good-bye is a gift, though. I hope you manage to make it down there beforehand. We sat with my FIL leading up to his death and the day of his death and it was so much better to be able to have that closure and say what needed to be said.

  11. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm sorry about your impending loss.

  12. Dido Says:

    So sorry and I hope you are able to spend some time together. Keeping you in thoughts and prayers.

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