Yuck—who really likes the “un-fun” things in life? That said, there are definitely things that need to be seen to for our own peace of mind. When my mother’s metastatic breast cancer infusions and medications stopped working, we knew that time was running out. However, both my parents had already started teaching each other how to do the duties that each one had handled throughout their marriage.
For example, Mom always managed the finances and kept the books straight. She showed Dad how to do it so that, should she die first, he would know how to take over the banking. She also showed him how to make simple meals, and who to call for house cleaning if he wasn’t up to it.
For his part, Dad showed Mom his list of who to call for oil deliveries, car repair, the lawn man, and the guy who always fixed the garage door when it occasionly went on the fritz, and so on.
Doing this made them both feel better. Of course, at the time they had no idea who would die first, but in any case, they knew how to carry on.
Both of them asked me to help write their obits, which I did, and they also picked out the caskets they wanted. Our family has a cemetary plot where my grandparents are buried, so Mom and Dad had their spots all ready.
After years of hearing my mother say how much she hated funerals, she finally changed her mind about it and arranged her own funeral. As she said, “it’s not about what I want, it’s for my friends and family.” She found that she actually enjoyed the whole process, especially the music. The music at the end of the service came right from the movie “Cheek to Cheek” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; “Heaven! I’m in Heaven!” We all cracked up during it.
This could have been a very morbid time for us all, but strangely enough, it really wasn’t. Mom picked out her “final outfit” and that got Dad going on his as well. I was there when Dad kept bringing in suit after suit to show Mom until she finally ok’d his final duds. At the end of the day, the three of us were laughing our heads off.
Because of all this, the Crankee Yankee and I decided to do similar. We went to our lawyer, got our wills in order, finances, and everything else. Surprisingly it didn’t take that long, but it’s peace of mind to have it out of the way, just in case. It might not be a whole lot of fun to do this, but in the end (no pun intended), it saves a lot of time and aggravation, especially on those we leave behind.
One more point: pets. Mom and Dad had Bailey, the only cat I’ve ever known who had beige fur. We promised to take him when Mom and Dad passed on, and so we did. He is our #5 cat, and he seems to enjoy the company of the other four cats.
Pets should definitely be considered along with the other “no fun” things to do; that is, who will care for them when we are gone. Make a plan with people you trust who will agree to take your pets should you pre-decease them. Also, put money aside for your pets’ care to make it easier on the ones who will care for your pets. If you cannot find someone who can do this, make arrangements with a shelter you trust to take them and see that they get loving homes.
I’ll admit, all this is not a bag of chuckles. However, it is something that needs to be done, and once it IS done, you will feel an immediate sense of relief. Odds are probably in our favor that we will be around for a good long while, but this is the kind of things my mother would have called a “Justin Case” (get it?)
Plus, as with chicken soup for a cold, it couldn’t hurt.