Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stop, breathe and think again

The trouble with illness, whether a parent's or one's own, is that it brings with it all manner of crazy emotional stuff that must also be dealt with. Unfortunately, there are no time outs, no brief reprieves during which we catch our breath, clear our heads, or find a little peace and quiet before we make the decisions that must be made and do what must be done. That being the case, let me just say this: Never make a financial decision relating to illness or care, while overwrought. If ever there were a time to NOT make a financial decision or commitment, it would be when you're overwrought. This is why I write about this incessantly. If you've had the important conversation with your family before a situation arises, when the situation does arise, the plan simply falls into place.

I won't go in to the whole sordid story, but suffice to say, I'm standing on the sidelines right now, watching someone talking himself into spending that which he has not, to do that which could be done much more simply, and without the long term debt consequence. Rather than stick with what can be relatively easily managed financially,  the intent seems to be "I gotta go big or go home" well, come on now! This is not Vegas!

When we spend money to prove our love for others, we are in deep, deep emotional waters. We need to step back; take a breath and think again. In much the same way that the duration of our grief is no indication of the depths of our love, neither is the quantum of cash spent any indication of love.  What it may be is an indication of is guilt or some other emotion, but that is a whole other story right there and psychology is not my sphere. Spending to reinforce, or create, some illusion isn't love and we should run from any suggestion that it is.

Spending what you don't have to show other people how you feel (or felt) about your loved one, is akin to flying first class just so people can see you boarding the plane first. The food may only be marginally better and you'll all (first class and economy) arrive at precisely the same time. Paying for a private room in hospital to prevent other people talking is equally fiscally irresponsible. If people are going to talk, LET THEM TALK. It's not like you can do anything to prevent them talking other than stapling their lips closed (and I'm pretty sure there's a law somewhere against that). Natterers will always find something about which to natter.

Do the best you can within your means and leave the natterers to their nattering. No one who loves (or loved) you, would ask any more than that and if they do, well that would probably fall under the heading of 'emotional blackmail' and that too, is a story for another day.

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