Why You Shouldn’t Let Superstition Guide You

January 7, 2015

Dealing with a family member in intensive care is hard enough as it is. It’s even harder when you’re absolutely unprepared for it. And the story of why we’re so unprepared is just sad….

In general, Taiwanese people are kind of superstitious. 30 years in the United States has curbed some of that superstition in my mom, but I can tell she still has a hard time letting go of her former beliefs. Trying to accommodate her superstition with my western sense of skepticism and rationalism has been trying at times, to say the least.

Apparently, about 10 years ago, my parents had a chance meeting with a “fortune teller” type of person here in Taiwan. And apparently, this fortune teller read my dad and, expressing amazement, told him that was unbelievably healthy and would live to be over 100.

After the reading, my mom then asked, “Oh, what about me?”

The fortune teller didn’t answer and just looked away.

My mom took his silence as… well, a death sentence. Because of this one incident, and for the past 10 years now, she’s lived under the assumption that she’s going to die long before my dad. As such, she’s spent countless hours making sure he understands her finances and can easily take over after she’s gone (basically, my parents split their time between Taiwan and the United States, with my dad handling their Taiwanese matters, and my mom handling their American matters).

Unfortunately, they’ve made no such preparations the other way around, because… well, why would they, if they believe the words of the fortune teller?

As such, the most stressful part of the past two weeks now has been trying to get all my dad’s affairs in order, because my mom has no idea what he was doing. Utilities, credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance… all that information is trapped inside my dad’s head right now. And we can’t get to it. We can’t even access his cell phone, because we don’t know his password.

And… yeah, I guess I have to take some responsibility for not stepping up and making sure both my parents are better prepared, too. I’ll definitely take the #blamedennis for this one.

Either way, this is why you should always plan ahead and not count on any certainties in life. And definitely not any certainties predicted by a freaking fortune teller.

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