Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Unfinished Business


A friend and I touched briefly on this today. Our loved ones are leaving us in droves it seems and there's a stark reminder in there of unfinished business left everywhere the moment we leave.

People plan to finish up tidily, don't they? At least my circle does. We joke about paying for the funeral in advance, putting all the papers in a neatly marked file with the label "Upon my Death" typed neatly upon it. And final blog posts logged under the same heading. Last will and testament neatly signed and witnessed, last piece of knitting finished, tax returns filed, bank accounts notated, all passwords in the death file.

I was struck by what surrounded my dearest friend Helen as she lay for the last time in her house. Her half-read book was particularly poignant. Her day planner full of bridge meets and book club gatherings and dinners and baby sitting preplans and vacations that would never be taken. For most of us are taken unawares. unprepared.

In the final weeks of lives, energies are often consumed with treatments and hospitals and surgeries and decisions and just trying to hang on.

In D....'s case, she had talked to me of her lists, her many bequests to friends, her gifts to the daughter taken from her. She worked so hard for her wealth, very hard, at one time her trusted manager had defrauded her and she had to rebuild it all. She wanted everyone who loved her to have something when she died. The list was extensive. Her lawyer was coming in to the hospital the following day to witness this will formally and legalize it. And she died 8 hours before the appointment. So now the lawyers have taken over and who knows if the courts will approve this list even though it was clearly her wish and witnessed, verbally, by her friends, me included.

I do have a death file, I do have a will, I do have DNR instructions, but I look around me here and think: mein gott, this office is, well, unreal. I know where everything is but will anyone else?

17 comments:

  1. A very thought provoking piece. I'd be interested to hear the outcome; do wishes witnessed verbally count for anything? xx

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  2. Well she had made notes as well she was a compulsive note maker, she even noted all her medical visitors and their conversations and some of the more inept medical treatments. The lawyers will use these notes in court. Yes it should be interesting.
    XO
    WWW

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  3. I've made no preparations whatever for my death, except a will, so Jenny would be a bit left in the lurch if I suddenly snuffed it. But she does know where to find my list of passwords, which would be a start. I've just left everything to her so there's no long list of beneficiaries to be argued over. Also we're solvent and she wouldn't discover any unexpected debt mountain.

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    1. Unfortunately mine is not that simple, Nick so had to see a lawyer to iron it all out but it is done and dusted now.
      XO
      WWW

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  4. My will is ready and the people who need to know are aware of where it is.

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    1. Yes mine too Ramana, good to be ready for the next big journey, yeah?

      XO
      WWW

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  5. It is just as well to get things in order (long before we need to, hopefully.) It pays to be a bit flexible too because things change over the years, don't you think?

    Maggie x

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    1. I think I've anticipated changes Maggie, but like you say, we are often taken unawares :)

      XO
      WWW

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  6. You remind me ... I'd better get to work on these things!

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    1. I know Tom, us few are going to live forever and have LOADS of time :)

      XO
      WWW

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  7. We have done what we can, but we know we will leave a lot for our kids to sort out anyway.

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  8. We have done what we can, but we know we will leave a lot for our kids to sort out anyway.

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    1. I suppose there's no "perfect" in the clean up of our detritus, Hattie!

      XO
      WWW

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  9. Mine is as done as I can do it. My friend and executor and a mutual friend had a lovely rather drunken evening following the final plans and signings. I hope to die in my bed [assisted if appropriate] on a day of my choice. I'm lucky in that I have an incurable disease so it well may be possible. The cremation man tells me he wouldn't like me to be dead in my bed for "much more than an hour". He is just around the corner as is my doctor. During that hour anyone who cares to see me is more than welcome. Then they will take me away [along with Josie's little coat and he last diaper which still smells of her - not of pee! - of her!] to be turned to ash. I have a rather large apartment with walls covered in paintings where I hope the party/art exhibit/meeting and greeting drinking and laughing and remembering will happen. Could it be better? I don't think so! Will it happen like that? Who knows?

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  10. that is supposed to be "her" last diaper!
    The guests at my wake will hopefully take a painting of mine home with them. Therefore I will live for the life of my last painting. I have paintings of my grandmothers [she died in 1934 - the year I was born] but she lives on in her Water Lilies on Black Velvet!

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  11. Lovely plans there Betty, I'm sure it will be all as you wish. And your paintings will live on forever.

    XO
    WWW

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  12. We should always have had arrangements made in the event of our demise, since our departure can be any time at any age, but somehow we never seem to give much thought to it unless we have a serious illness or have reached what we consider to be old age. I've only partially made arrangements I need to make but have good intentions for doing so -- you know the saying about where such a road paved with good intentions is headed!

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