it's about life.. down here in ...

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Final Client Meeting...

I debated about writing this... but, sometimes it's easier to write about it, rather than talk about it.
On Wednesday of this week I received an email from a long time client telling me that he was in the final stages of terminal cancer, and that he needed some financial planning advice for his wife, "who would (will) be widowed soon". That statement left me with a lump in my throat, but I had work to do and a client's interests to serve.

I meet with my clients at least once a year, and I had met with this client last July. He was diagnosed with cancer in December, and given 6-months life expectancy. That was 4-months ago.

I met with him on Friday afternoon. It's shocking what cancer and chemotherapy can do to the human body. My client, a robust man of 68-years... was now using a cane to aid his walking... he was bald and jaundiced... he was dressed in winter clothing.. it was 90-degrees outside, he was unable to regulate his body temperature due to the treatments he'd been receiving...

The familiar glint in his eyes was gone... his eyes were sunken and he had that "fear" in his eyes that I have seen in the eyes of other persons that I've known in the last weeks of life... my dad-cancer, my friend Edna-cancer, my grandmother... my heart ached...

The private meeting room where we normally visit with our clients was too cool for him.. he asked if we could meet in the small private lobby where the sunshine was coming in through the large windows. There we sat, together on a sofa, planning for his death.

His wife, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, will have the need for much assistance when he passes. I advised him to give one of his adult children a durable power of attorney... he hadn't thought of that. We made some changes to his financial holdings that would create income for his wife, and preserve the value of his estate. That's what I do... help my clients when they need help planning for their financial future, or the financial future of their family.

As he stood to leave, I first shook his hand... and then we hugged. I told him how much I have always appreciated him as a client, and that he would be in my prayers... and then I went back to my desk and cried.

I won't see this client again. My next conversation will be with his wife and his son. I probably won't know when he passes... I usually find out once the death certificates have been issued and the beneficiaries show up in my office for my assistance with the financial side of the estate. He won't be the first client I have lost, nor the last... and I always feel great sadness at their loss...

It had been a long week that seemed to have a myriad of problems to be solved. This meeting wasn't a problem. It was simply my final responsibility to a client's interests.

It's what I do, down here in French Lique...

21 comments:

Lavender Chick said...

Wow - I don't know what to say. I completely understood when your said after he left you went back to your desk and cried. What else could you do? A very touching story that puts much into perspective. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

God bless you Dixie.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

So sad...what you've done will truly help his family. We have to believe he is going to a much better place...and one day his family will join him. Bless you for helping him...I know your heart is heavy...mine would be, too.
Love ya,
Susan

Lisa said...

What a blessing for your client to have someone capable and caring to handle his affairs.

Candy said...

My prayers will be with him. God's grace will cover the impossible. What a sad family's story.
I found out yesterday that my BIL has a tumor on each kidney. Our journey is just starting down this road. Hope you have a peaceful, restful weekend.
Candy

Stacey said...

Just that sounds hard. I hope you always can remember that what you are doing is so helpful and important to the families. Thank you!

Libby Murphy said...

Oh so heartfelt. It's those of us who are left behind that suffer when someone we know passes to their rewards. That you care so much about others, clients or friends, speaks volumes about you.
Happy Twirls

Anonymous said...

Father God I thank you that you have blessed Dixie with your strength and have placed her where she is a light in this old world that sometimes grows dark and scary when the clouds blow in.
Lord comfort her heart and give her rest and renew her strength to carry on .Lord be with all those in need of comfort and hope and healing in blogland today in Jesus name.
Amen
Thank you Dixie for sharing .

Bonjour Madame said...

That's gotta hurt. You are doing them a service though that they will greatly need in the future and for that I thank you and all who service others.

marty39 said...

I do so understand. I volunteer with Senior Citizens and help take care of them. When I lose one it always puts such an ache in my heart that I can hardly stand. I too say prayers and cry. Then I try hard to remember, that what I did for them when they were here is the best I could do. You gave this gentleman peace. That's the best gift a person can give. God Bless you for your service. He and his family will always be blessed by what you do. I'm sure they will and have always said Thank You. God Bless - Hugs, Marty

xinex said...

Oh Dixie, this is so sad. I can feel it and I don;t even know your client personally. I am so sorry....Christine

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

It is great that you can be there to help when and where they need you most. So many people don't have that help when they reach the end. So many spouses are left with out a future and in her condition she will need the help. Thank the Good Lord you were there to let him know about a durable power of attorney. So many elderly people do not think about little things like that. It is sad and you will miss him, but He is lucky to have someone as caring as you taking care of him.

Susie Q said...

His wife and family are so very fortunate to have someone as tender as you to care for him. My in-laws also did an excellent job in estate planning, and I've always been grateful to that unknown planner...it has enabled my MIL to be comfortable. (now, if we could just destroy her credit cards...she's in excellent mental and physical health, she just likes to shop ;D). I contrast that with my own parents who didn't do a very good job, and my father's cancer ate up a good deal of their savings for what insurance didn't cover. Bless you for being there for him.

sepiadreams said...

So much sadness in this world. I always find that if I have done just a little to make someones life easier especially before they die, I am sad but satisfied at the same time. Life is not easy. I am glad he has you...LOve Tiina...

bj said...

Oh, Dixie, I am such a squalling baby that I can't even say anything to make you feel better.
I am a titty baby when it comes to something like this and I'm at a loss of what to say. Just know I am thinking of you and knowing how much his family must appreciate all you do.

momma said...

i cried a little, too, as i read this. i'm sure they are glad to have someone like you to think of things they don't think about!

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Sitting here with tears as I type this. How hard for both of you, but how wonderful that he knew he could trust you to do what needed done financially/legally. I think I would have gone back to my desk and cried too...

Deb said...

Dixie,

that is so sad, I hope sharing it with us helped you feel better

cottage farm villa (cottagecharm) said...

Dixie .... I am sorry that you are losing your client to the deadly cancer, just as you lost your dad, friend and grandmother. I lost my dad to cancer too many many years ago. He was 38 years old and such a handsome man. 6'1, big and strong. The cancer and chemo took all that strength away. As a teen, I couldn't bear to see him that way and didn't want to go to the hospital much. It was just too painful.

You and I have had a tough week .... both with heavy hearts.

The thing to take from all of this is that you and I are healthy and the sun will shine on us tomorrow. And that, Ms Dixie, I embrace. Have a beautiful week.

Mama said...

Hello Dixie, we have just watched our dear friend lose a long and courageous battle with cancer too and we were only recently discussing with his wife about her worries of having to go to see their financial advisors, I am hoping they are as warm and compassionate as you, we never really thought of how hard it must be at times for the advisors. Kathy.

My Crafty Little Page said...

I know that look of fear and denial...my sister had it. Wish she had had someone like you - it was a horrible mess after she died. Blessings to you, Dixie. :(N