Shh … Don’t Even Mention It

“Death tugs at my ear and says; Live, I am coming” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

With the end of yet another year approaching this might be a fitting topic. Endings are a chapter unto themselves.

While young, most endings offer new beginnings. When older, endings can be fatal!

That’s the thing about it; it is very final!

Now, like sexuality many people do not discuss the topic at all.

It is often like, ’If I don’t think about it or talk about it, it doesn’t exist.’ Well, guess what? We all know no one gets out of here alive.

Knowing that, many choose to disregard it and that may work for them. Others have religious faith and believe that a better existence awaits them in a heaven where they will have virgins waiting for them, or they will see loved ones that have already died. That helps.

But for the pragmatic or atheists, that doesn’t work. Those that are cremated also have another path.

Those that dwell on death or fear it usually have not enjoyed life or accomplished what they hoped to achieve.

Those that have little or few regrets do not fear death. Indeed, most of these people are in the process of doing and planning when death arrives.

Being responsible means that the knowledge is there that the end will come. Hopefully after a long and fruitful life.

Those that suffer and longer, or those that die young are tragic and awful for their loved ones. All those recent terror deaths or war deaths are really sad to observe. It makes no sense. We should all have a ‘pill’ if and when we need it.

But for the majority of people a plan for disbursing of one’s accumulated assets takes place.

Now I have known many successful people who did not either leave a Will or discuss their wishes with a spouse or children. Reasons abound as to why this is the case. Usually it’s because they know someone will not like the plan.

There are any number of people who do really nasty things and cut out family members because of some past grievance or hurt. Leona Helmsley left a huge amount of money for her dog’s care! Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Too bad people cannot make peace with those that are related or close to them. There are, on the other hand, people who leave money to strangers they met along the way.

Some people are very thoughtful and write lovely things to those they leave money or things to. It all shows the nature of the person and how they have lived.

When my own father was way in his eighties he was in the hospital. The doctor came in to tell him how well he was doing and talked about how this and that test came back fine.

He looked at me and said,” See, I’m dying of improvements.”

Humor helps.

When I worked in the hospital there were huge arguments and shenanigans over a dying parent and what certain siblings, for example, wanted. Lawyers have written and had dying patients sign documents that they never understood.

I had a client whose husband was well to do and when he died she went to the vault to see what he had left her. What she found were gambling debt receipts. Tragic.

Then there’s the story of the woman who as she became elderly had her portrait painted. She insisted the artist paint her in a lot of jewelry and many diamonds. When he said she was not wearing these things she announced,” I know. I want the second bitch he marries to go crazy looking for them!” Sweet.

Some partners pick out the second or third partner for their spouse. Some want them to remain single and pine for them. We are all different.

The old adage that if the partner remarries it is because they had a good experience the first time. Not always the case. I know of many who were relieved and glad to be rid of their partner.

The hard part is that losing someone with whom you have shared life with and truly loved is extremely difficult. It is final, and you are left with memories and an empty pit in your stomach. Certain things can trigger unhappiness and sadness. Keeping busy helps. Being with people you care about helps. Doing nice things for others really helps. But in the end, we are alone without that person.

Every parent, especially mothers, remember every detail of a child’s birth. And, every child remembers every detail of a parent’s death.

Where resources and money are involved, whether large or small amounts, there is concern. A fair parent

tries to do justice and divide equitably among children. The poorer ones may need more but successful ones should not be ‘punished’ for their hard work.

Also look at the billionaires that leave their fortunes for charities and good deeds. Leaving too much to a child can make them lose ambition.

There are any number of legal battles that have been waged over family money and they are not pretty to learn about.

In the end we will all be ‘gone.’ The trick is to live so that we enjoy the life we are given. Before age fifty it’s how long I have lived, and after fifty it’s how long do I have left to live. Who knows? So, do it well!!

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell

Whose death mattered to you? How and when might you hope to die?

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