David is one of the three sons of the late Carole and Herman Fauss. David is the eldest son, followed by Dale, then many years later, Stephen. Unlike many families with whom I am familiar, David and his brothers share a harmonious existence. None of them have ever been in any kind of trouble, there is no “black sheep” in the family, and they have, to my knowledge, never had a major disagreement. Carole and Herman obviously did a great job raising their three sons, however, it often seemed to me that they didn’t fully appreciate the unusual nature of their family harmony. I frequently told both of my in-laws how fortunate they were to have such wonderful sons, with everyone getting along with each other, enjoying their time together, and sharing in each other’s lives. Now that both Carole and Herman have passed away after battling dementia, I am even more impressed by the manner with which David and his two brothers worked together on behalf of their parents during their final years. They even shared power of attorney duties for both of their incapacitated parents! And, as of this writing, they have never had any difficulties reaching an agreement on how to handle difficult decisions their parents could no longer make on their own or now, on matter related to their estates. David and his brothers divided, on an equal basis, the management and oversight of their parents’ care, with David handling medical issues, Stephen handling financial matters, including bill paying, and, until he moved out of the area, Dale being the hands on first responder to numerous emergencies. When Carole and Herman moved out of their home in the independent living area of their continuous care neighborhood, I became the care giver for all of their plants. One of these plants is a beautiful orchid with yellow blooms. So far, every time it blooms, it has three flowers, no more and no less. I always tell David these flowers represent Carole’s and Herman’s three sons. I am proud to have been a part of such a wonderful family for over three decades!
Writing this a few months after my parents’ deaths, it is interesting to reflect on how we three sons/brothers worked together well. We missed a few details; there was so much to be done to look after our parents’ affairs. But, we worked together in ways that apparently aren’t the case in all families. I know that, but many people have commented on this so that it is difficult to know if we are on the far side of normal or abnormal in this regard. Regardless, it just seemed we always did what we needed to do. Dale and I shared a bedroom growing up and that probably made for a tight relationship. And, once Stephen came along, he went with Dale and/or me all the time, creating another strong bond there. I know we brothers are fortunate to be in sync as well as we were in dealing with our parents. I believe they know this as well. It is incomprehensible to me to observe the dysfunction I’ve observed in family and friends, who do not respect the others in their families and who work at odds with other family members in attempting to manage difficult circumstances like those involved with aging and dying parents. I know it often is about greed, about money. I know it can be about “I don’t have time to bother.” But, my parents set the model for caring for their aging parents and I, for one, wanted to emulate their acts of love and kindness for them. Dale and Stephen learned the lesson as well which helped us arrange, plan, and keep up with the ever changing landscape. I don’t think any one of us could have managed the last 10 to15 years solo! It was difficult; keeping up with work and life presented many challenges. I know we always did our best and gave it our best shot.