(Please, God, don’t let this be one of those prophetic writings that gets published 2 minutes before I’m squashed by a semi falling off an overpass or something.)
As I enter my twilight years, and my health becomes iffy, I find myself thinking about my final wishes. Knowing first-hand how difficult the death of a parent can be, I’ve already made arrangements to donate my body to the local medical school – and made sure my kids know how to contact the proper officials when the time comes.
But what about the rest of it?
If there were a memorial service, would anyone come? If anyone did come, would they then attend a breakfast/lunch/dinner afterwards? I remember when my dad died, we had a memorial service and afterwards, my mother, my brothers and I went for lunch at a local restaurant. I remember sharing stories from our childhood years – from the laughter at our table, you’d never know we had just come from a funeral. I think I’d like that – I’d like my family to remember me with laughter rather than tears.
People talk about bucket lists. I don’t have one. I figure I’ve done about as much in my life as I can – I’ve had a good marriage and successfully raised three beautiful daughters. I’ve risen to the top of my career field, such as it is. Who can ask for more? Anything I haven’t done is because I didn’t have the money, didn’t have the time, didn’t have the energy, or simply had no desire – and all of that’s probably not going to change within the limited number of years I have left.
So, what do I want?
♦ I want to die before my kids do. No parent should ever have to bury a child – that’s just wrong.
♦ If I die before my husband, I want my girls to take care of their father, even if he does annoy the shit out of them.
♦ If Puppy Cody is still alive when I die (and hubby has predeceased me), I want one of my girls to adopt her and give her the home she deserves.
♦ My youngest daughter gets my piano because she will appreciate it most. My mother gave it to me outright rather than to bequeath it to me in her will because she wanted me to be able to enjoy it longer. I’d like to keep it in the family. (Sweetie, have fun finding room for it in that studio apartment!)
♦ My middle daughter gets anything of any artistic value that I may own, including those landscapes she painted while drinking in Ireland during her college year abroad. (Oh, wait, that doesn’t read quite right – they’re very nice paintings, and I love having them on my newly painted walls. I’m sure you were studying the whole time you were over there!)
♦ Cordelia (my oldest daughter) gets this blog. Not that she wants it, seeing as she’s a much better writer than I am, with many, many more readers than I’ll ever have. But hey, someone has to come on here and let you all know I’ve croaked, right? Then you can all get together and have a big Cordelia’s Mom Send-Off Party, with lots of wine and cuppycakes.
But enough morbidness.
Throwing all logic into the wind, if death was foreseeable, these are some of the things I’d like to have done before I died:
2. Set enough money aside so that there will, in fact, be some kind of estate to bequeath to my daughters (and to pay for the above-referenced wine & cuppycakes party) – regardless of whether or not that ship comes in, and despite the travel expenses involved in my next wish, below.
3. Personally meet every one of my blogging friends.
4. Meet at least one stranger who looks at me and says, “OMG, aren’t you Cordelia’s Mom? I love your blog!” [remember, I wrote “Throwing all logic into the wind …” Duh.]
5. Play the violin and the piano one more time, and do both well. Hopefully without upsetting every dog and cat in the township.
6. Go fishing one more time. It would be even better if the fish were caught in a body of water clean enough that the fish could then be cooked and eaten. And I don’t do ice fishing, so hopefully my time won’t be up before summer.
7. Have a lobster dinner, slathered with lots and lots of melted butter. Because who can afford lobster these days? Certainly not me, unless the ship comes in.
8. Finally finish that sweater I started knitting 40 years ago. It won’t fit me any more, but Cordelia tells me she likes fisherman knit sweaters, and she’s a little thing. It would be a shame to waste all that yarn. However, I might need to get a better pair of bifocals first.
As you can see, even dreaming of unlimited funds, extended time and uncompromised health, I still can’t think of much that I don’t already have or haven’t already done. My needs and wishes are simple, and become more basic as the years pass. I guess my biggest wish would simply be to die in my sleep, without pain, and knowing that my family will be able to move on with lots of loving memories and little grief.
If you knew you were about to die, what would your wishes be? Have you begun to plan for your final days, or are you too young or to afraid to do so? Give us all your thoughts on this delicate topic.
Image by Cordelia’s Mom (using template from Microsoft Office Clip Art, which came with the computer – duh)