Getting in touch with mortality

Q1 Newsletter 2024
February 14, 2024

By John Ardill

I am facing the imminent loss of my 85-year-old brother to aggressive cancer.  Struggling with feelings of guilt, I realize that caring for my brother in the hospital is accompanied by thoughts of my own mortality during the drive home—a seemingly selfish introspection.

I hope that my reflection in this post prompts readers to engage in healthy discussions with family and friends about mortality, an inevitable aspect of life.  

For me, the truth is that it’s taken me until now, age 76, to get in touch with my mortality.  

It did not happen when I was 13, when a grandparent passed away.  Although I felt sorry to see them go, the true understanding of mortality eluded me. 

It did not happen in my early 20s, when my father died after an eight-year battle with cancer.
It did not happen even after the death of my wife, Karyn, which brought me profound grief and sadness.
I am not proud that it has taken me until now.  At least for me, it has taken the influence of age for me to finally get here. I also look at it with the eyes of a former financial advisor, and also through the lens of retirement, because I realize that there are really two stages in the retired years:

Thus, I think the biggest question is this:  how to navigate the second stage?

My brother’s declining health has led me to think deeply about mortality, so I have included those thoughts at the “PS” following my signature, below.  For readers who appreciate brevity, I will now turn to three key takeaways on how to navigate the second stage of retirement:

  1. The more you talk about your mortality with your loved ones, the better.  Have an open dialogue and bring them along in the process.
  2. Have a plan that your family is a part of, both financially and emotionally.  Ensure your wishes and desires are clearly understood by family and loved ones, so they can execute upon them.
  3. Have a clear economic plan to transition family assets, so everyone can avoid the hurt feelings and unnecessary pain that so often occur when assets are transitioned haphazardly and with missed opportunities.

And here is a fourth point: always know that we are here to support and encourage you throughout your life.  Please reach out to us.

Very best wishes,
John Ardill
Founder and Mentor
Ardill Group
Direct: 1 416 400 5882
Office: 1 905 907 7000




PPS!  I highly recommend this short e-book, Living an Unsinkable Life:  How to Bounce Back from Difficult Times, Be Happy NOW and Live the Life of Your Dreams.