The spark that prompted a resolve to ‘get my life in order’ 

I’m finding myself of late thinking about putting my life in order. You know, make a will, putting all the passwords to various accounts in a specific book, coded of course so that the opportunistic thief who breaks into my house and steals said little black book can’t fathom what I have written. My children will understand the code. Make sure said children also know what bank accounts and financial stuff I have, without revealing too much of the inheritance so they don’t want to bump me off early. 

I do the thinking but not the following through. And, of course, the question is why? The bleeding obvious answer is that I am not yet prepared to accept either my dotage or my death. COVID came a few years ago as a slap in the face to my mortality, a moment of loss of perception of myself as semi-middle aged and still vibrant. Suddenly I was described by the media and the medical profession as old, elderly, possibly frail and about to kick the bucket if I was exposed to this insidious virus.  

I have overcome this painful and hurtful jibe thrust daily in my face for nearly three years, as I fretted and did the statistical analysis of death rates around the world based on age. Google is so helpful. I have also survived an attack by the nasty virus. I have chastised myself for all this unnecessary worry and obsession.  

But now something has changed. I drove past a cemetery the other day – there is one near me on prime real estate. You know the sort – large high-arched brick-red fence, ornate sculptures of angels peeking over the top of the fence, nothing too garish but certainly substantial and dignified.  

It has a very large sign out the front advertising ‘premium graves’. I laughed my head off at the wonderful attempt at manipulation and persuasion to entice someone to buy a burial plot. I wondered what made the bit of dirt and the hole in the ground ‘premium’. Perhaps it was on a rise and had a bit of a view? Not for this black duck I thought, but then the whole trail of consequences evolved in front of me as I drove to my destination.   

Would the kids pay for some obscenely expensive funeral and casket? Would I end up in the big family plot next to my mother and other assorted relatives? Did I want to be buried or cremated?  

Somehow these questions can no longer be pushed to the back of my consciousness. I want them to know that I would prefer a simple cardboard coffin. Stupid idea to waste good wood and brass handles in a world of finite resources. I want them to know my preferences, and hopefully this will free them from guilt and pressure from the funeral company and the views of their peers.  

‘This is what mum wants’ can be the catchcry. 

I want them to use the money they save to have a ripper of a wake, resplendent with stories, booze, food, laughter and tears. I want them to celebrate a life well lived.  

So, that little black book is finally being filled with instructions for the children. Just as long as I can remember where I put it … 

Do you have your affairs ‘in order’? Or it that still a case of head in sand? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below? 

Also read: What’s wrong with paying for good sex?

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