Preparing for Death

No, I’m not even close to dying yet. But preparations need to be made anyway. I have been putting off something as simple as a Living Will. Because if I actually do it, then I’m acknowledging my own mortality. My partner and I have talked about preparing, but neither of us has done anything about it. There are so many things to think about besides the Living Will. There is all the minutiae such as web sites and passwords. I am all over social media; he isn’t and doesn’t have a clue about Facebook and Twitter and Klout and all those other sites I’m part of. There are family and friends to notify. Dogs to take care of. The mortgage on the house. The car. Memberships in things like Amazon and Goodreads. So much to do.

Life can be gone in a heartbeat. It could be a car crash; a flash of lightning; a sudden heart attack; a ruptured aneurysm. Life is fraught with danger. But if I don’t prepare, then I won’t be ready, and I won’t die. Magical thinking I know. But I have no other reason for putting off what I know needs to be done. And there is so much to think about like cleaning out files so the survivor doesn’t have to do it. Deciding who gets what possessions. Going through the picture album and writing down who is in the pictures so that future generations don’t have to guess. So much to do.

I need to go make a list…


24 thoughts on “Preparing for Death

  1. We went through all this a while ago and had my mother-in-law do it as well. I think a lot of people do put it off, but I felt so much better once it was done. I have a rather grim sense of humor – a legacy from a long line of hand wringers, but it helped in the process of estate planning and a living will. Ironically, the people who told me what to do with their furniture whenever they got on a plane are still around to drive everyone nuts. Think of it as your talisman.

  2. These kinds of things often cross my mind, especially things like the subscriptions, passwords, and the vast myriad of online stuff that would baffle my loved one if/when anything happens to me. I can’t bring myself to do anything about it either, though I have begun putting a binder together with essential information.

    It’s a harsh reality that all of us should really tend to. And one that we keep putting off. You could live forever…I could go tomorrow…life is so fragile, as we both know. I wish none of us had to ever worry about it. And I’m sorry that cancer brings it all to the front burner much more glaringly than for the rest of us.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. angelika says:

    Just do a little bit every day. After a month, you have accomplished alot. Start off writing a list of all the things you need to do, and add to it as soon as you realize another thing has to be done. I did this with my mother,… it was a gigantic task, …it took about a year, I plowed through it all. I actually sorted out three huge suitcases of photos. I simply grabbed a fist-full every day, and did those, no more, no less. And when my mother passed away, I was so thankfull that I knew where everything was, how to deal with it, so that I could simply grieve without any additional burdens.

  4. saundragoodman says:

    I did much of that when my father passed 12 years ago and I was left alone. ALONE. Nobody seems to know what ‘alone’ means. I still can’t bring myself to myself to complete everything because there is nobody to leave with the responsibilities.

  5. saundragoodman says:

    Isn’t it ironic that I have only acquaintances where I live and my friends are women I’ve never met.

  6. It can be a daunting task, Ruth. I have been going through it with my mother. She has been trying for years to do all those things that are on your list. Recently she broke her foot and had to have a homecare worker come in to assist her with things like counting her meds weekly, as she can no longer see well enough to tell one oval white pill from another — and my stepfather, with his dementia, can’t reliably help her with this.

    Anyway, “GG” has been a godsend for me and my mother. for me, because I can’t be there to help. And for her because together they are starting to sort through her “stuff,” and make the decisions that need to be made.

    My mother says the process of organizing is giving her such great peace of mind. She actually has more energy.

    I need to take a tip from all of you and start to do the same thing. We wrote our wills ages ago. So long ago that they contain instructions on who is to become guardian of our kids. The same kids who are in their mid-30s these days. Clearly these wills are not longer as relevant as they need to be.

    Anyway, like you, I have let this work slide. It’s easy to do as long as you are healthy and no freak accident befalls us.

    But Angelika is right: a little bit done each day can make the task less dreadful;.

  7. Since I’m alone, too, there are things that have to be thought of, NOW. Like, the cat. She’s such a one-person kitty, there’s no one to just leave her with. So, I’ve made an arrangement with my vet. If I get hit by a bus or whatever, the vet will take Dixie Rose. I have a CD with a $500 POD payable to the vet and the clinic. That will take care of expenses for her while they’re finding her a new home, and if there’s money left, the vet can use it for care of needy pets.

    I’ve also got the outline of a final post in my files. I had a dear, dear blog friend just disappear, and it took us too years to find out what happened to her. She was a WordPress forum volunteer, a drive-time news host in DC, a NYC radio person — and she just went poof. Died alone in a shelter. Anyway — the grief was terrible in the blogging community. I don’t want people to have to worry about where I’ve gone to. 😉

  8. Daunting! Intimidating! Argh! We made an appointment with a lawyer which forced the issue, and now are all willed up. Feels good! Honest!

  9. The will is the least of it I think, because we don’t have much to leave. It’s all the other minutiae that’s intimidating like the photo albums, the passwords, the memberships, etc.

  10. The memberships will sort themselves out. Passwords though — passwords are a pain. Apologies in advance for getting all Chamber of Commerce on you, but have you tried a password storage system? We use Dashlane, but there are others. You keep one key Dashlane password in a safe place. The software generates and stores passwords and logs you into sites. Voila! Password problem solved. (Visiting here from Paula’s “Persecution of Mildred Dunlap” site by the way. I liked your comment and blog name.)

  11. There’s nothing to soften the sting of grief like the task of going through and disposing of a loved one’s possessions. That’s especially true these days, when so many of us have homes filled with collections and unneeded bargains purchased at flea markets and online. What you’re doing is both sensible and thoughtful.

  12. Life is very fragile, Ruth and we should all make preparations. I’m really glad you wrote this post.

    So much has happened since I’ve been off-line and I’ll probably blog about it soon, but one thing I can tell you here is that last week my hubby saved our neighbors life. Through a series of really unusual circumstances, hubby had to go into a field of sugar cane and he found our neighbor who had collapsed and been there for some time. No one even knew he was missing because he lives alone. Hubby called the ambulance and even they couldn’t find them so hubby had to leave him and lead the ambulance officers through cane to where he was lying. We now know he had suffered a brain aneurysm, become confused and disoriented and wandered into the cane fields. The doctors told us he wouldn’t have lasted there another two hours and had hubby not found him we would never have found him or known what had happened to him. The harvester isn’t due to cut there for another month and that thought is too hideous to even think about.

    This is why I love this post because life is precious and fragile and no matter where we are or who we are it’s important to understand that. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Hugs to you, my friend xxxx

  13. He’s in the hospital recovering well and we’re looking after his house. He certainly wasn’t supposed to die that day and I’m sure he had a little angel that led hubby straight to him. It’s such an odd story because it all started when my builder was nearly killed because of the cyclists racing on our road. We complained to the police about the cyclists and this led to an investigation and then all the farmers came together to sign a petition which I took to the police. This led to the cyclists being ordered by the police not to ride on the road, which led to a huge change of activity in the area on the Saturday where we were preparing for a ‘protest race’ – because of this hubby went into an area he would never have gone to and this is where he found our neighbor. It was like one of those ‘Seconds from Disaster’ shows where so many things have to happen that if one incident is missing the final event is avoided. The whole thing is truly bizarre and really made me think about fate and synchronicity.

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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