7 Processes to Complete With Your Parents Before They Die

In his Facebook post “Processes to go through with your parents before they die,” Daniel Schmachtenberger, founder of the Critical Path Institute, outlined 7 exercises to use with your parents that can offer significant healing and completion for their life and yours.

While Daniel shared these exercises in the context of a parent’s impending death, your parents are heading toward death even if there’s no official diagnosis. And starting these processes with them before mortality is immediately on the table is even better.

1. Help them make a timeline of their life: Create a timeline of all the big events in their life, starting with birth and their earliest memories up to the present. This is a great way to get to know them even better while you still can. Recalling their life through these stories can help them harvest the gifts, relive good times, and identify areas still unresolved.


2. Relationship healing: To foster healing in your relationship, focus on three areas:

  • Peacemaking: Forgive them for any way they hurt you, and help them forgive themselves. Apologize for the ways you hurt them. You want to ensure that no residual pain exists in the relationship.
  • Appreciation and gratitude: Write them a letter detailing everything you learned from them and all the positive experiences you had together. Think of all they did for you, really appreciate it, and help them feel your appreciation. Let them know their virtues will live on through you once they’re gone.
  • Reassurance: It’s common for parents to resist leaving you over concerns for your future well-being. Reassure them you’re alright, will be alright, and it’s okay for them to go. Estate planning is a major part of this.


3. Family healing: Support your parent in making peace with everyone in their life, even if they can’t speak directly. Reassure them you’ll take care of those loved ones in the most need.

4. Wisdom gathering: As the proverb says, “Every time an old person dies, a library burns,” so ask them for life advice, and record as much of their wisdom as possible.

5. Bucket list: Ask them if there’s anything they want to experience before they go, and fulfill as many of these wishes as you can.


6. Help them see how they touched the world: Inventory all of the meaningful ways they’ve touched the lives of others. Help them see all of the beauty and meaning their life has brought to the world.

7. Help them be at peace with passing: If they experience any fear of death, do your best to help them move through that. When death comes, you want them to be ready to greet her as an old friend.


We’re exceedingly grateful to Daniel for sharing these practices. Read this post and more from Daniel by visiting his Facebook page.

Preserve your family’s intangible assets

The stories, lessons, and values from these conversations are often your family’s most precious assets. To ensure these gifts aren’t lost forever, we’ve developed our own process, known as Family Wealth Legacy Passages, for preserving and passing on these intangible assets—and this service is included with every estate plan we create.

Schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us your Personal Family Lawyer
® to learn how we can preserve and pass on not only your financial wealth, but your most treasured family values and life lessons as well. 



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