by Jeff Ingram on February 25th, 2016

My brother has a blog with a Christian World View (  In his blog he often writes of our sweet momma and her fourteen year struggle with Early Onset Alzheimer's.  He usually makes me cry, but in this one, I never saw it coming...

Up, up and away.... ​

by Jill Francis on February 6th, 2016

The blog below, written by Dr. Louis Profeta, an emergency room physician, is difficult to read.  I aosk that you find the courage to read it and ponder it and to begin the discussions with your family.  It's worth your time.  

Type your new text here.

by Jill Francis on October 3rd, 2015

I doubt there’s anyone under the age of 10 who hasn’t belly laughed at one of Robin William’s characters.  After all, if he had done nothing else, he would have been immortalized for being Disney’s Genie in “Alladin”.  And for all of the laughter he provided so many of us for so many decades, his family is doing anything but laughing.  Rather than spending their time mourning his death and laughing as they remember him, they are arguing in court.

It’s children versus widow (who only married Williams in 2011), as the attorneys “interpret” his last wishes among the legal jargon that is his Will. This is only one of thousands of these types of cases every year and certainly we all know of a family who has fought and/or gone to court over end-of-life settlement issues.  It doesn’t have to be this way and shouldn’t be this way, so here are some ideas if you have none of your own:

1.   Talk to all of your children and TELL them what will go to each one and make a list.-

2.  Have a family weekend, give Monopoly money to all of your grown children, “auction” off the family heirlooms and memorabilia, and have them “purchase” the item with their money.  This will help each child narrow down what they really want; after all, if they have $3,000 to spend, do they really want to use it all on the Grandfather clock and oriental rugs?  This process also helps them determine what is really important to their siblings and can open doors to conversation.  Then make a list of what everyone has purchased and when the time comes, everyone will know what items belong to which child.

2.  Take a permanent marker and write the recipient’s name somewhere hidden on the item.  Granted, this seems like a crude approach and isn’t the best idea for Grandma’s china or crystal, but it accomplishes the task.Spend some time brainstorming with your family for other ideas.  

After years of making us laugh, I believe Robin would be crying now at the state of his family’s affairs; please don’t let this happen to yours.  Have conversations, make plans, talk and talk some more.

by Jill Francis on August 15th, 2015

At Gracious Goodbyes it is our desire to help you begin family conversations about the end of life.  We also want to help you prepare and organize for end-of-life.  We have a way to help you and you can contact me at 

You can also opt to organize your life by checking out Kay Bransford's MemoryBanc and her MemoryBanc workbook.  It's a wonderful tool for organizing your family information.  You can "Like" her on FaceBook, find her on Amazon, and you can check out her latest interview and blog at

Her information is invaluable, insightful and worth your time
Set aside a day this Fall and organize your life.  You'll be glad you did.  


by Jill Francis on August 3rd, 2015

Family assumptions....we all have them.  They come from living with and interacting with family members throughout a lifetime.  They come from what my brother likes to call, "family muscle memory".  We assume certain family members will respond certain ways in certain situations.  We assume our spouses will behave, our children will behave (mostly) and our parents will be with us a long, long time.  We also tend to assume our fathers will pass away before our mothers because "that's the norm".

And we make plans around those assumptions.  Take my friend for example.  Her mother called me a couple of weeks ago and left me a very disturbing voice mail.  In it, she said the issues her family was having were all a result of her deceitful lifestyle, that her life had been a lie and it was now time to confess.  She continued the message with attempts to quote a favorite speaker of hers and the message trailed off into incoherent mumbling and finally ended.  I knew something was wrong and called her daughter.  Hours later, Mrs. L's daughter called me back and said her mom had "flipped".  Now it's a matter of running tests and labeling what happened and how to proceed.

Here's the problem:  in Mrs. L's family, Mrs. L was the caregiver of Mr. L.  He was the one with medical issues, the one who would try to sneak the car, the one who had almost died twice already,  the one everyone assumed  would die first.  When that happened, the plan was for the mother to move in with the daughter's family.  It was a good plan but it was a plan based upon the Caregiver being lucid and capable of providing care.    That is no longer the case.  In 30-40% of cases, the Caregiver passes away first (it can be even higher if they are caring for an Alzheimer's or dementia patient). 

Fortunately, before Mrs. L lost her wits, she made sure her daughter was a LEGAL part of their life, so the daughter has the ability to speak with the family attorney, doctors and whomever she needs, in order to take care of her parents.  Unfortunately, their best laid plans are all up in smoke...but at least they had some, at least they had a place to start.

If you've spoken with your parents and made end-of-life plans, good for you!  BUT, don't assume they'll happen according to plan.  It's good to have a plan B.  Or C.   Or D....because LIFE doesn't care about your family assumptions.  

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