Over the past several months we've lost four male family members or friends to death. Two my father's age and two Rob's age. At moments the grief has been overwhelming. Partly because I miss them terribly, partly because of regrets of missed opportunities, and partly, I am afraid to admit, because I know the day may come when I have to bury my own father or my own husband.
In a moment of utter selfishness I told Rob, "I want to die before you. I don't want to go through this. I don't want to go through life without you."
The reality is that we never know who will be called when. Sometimes we have to move beyond grief, beyond denial, beyond politeness, and get practical. This morning, the morning after the overly emotional funeral of a favorite uncle, I am thinking about the practical.
I am the executor of my parents' will. Dad and I have already talked this weekend a little bit about his life insurance and bank accounts. Today I will have him show me exactly where he keeps all his paperwork. Perhaps, if I can contain my emotions, we'll talk about his and Mom's desires for funeral and burial arrangements.
It's all so very uncomfortable, yet should the day arise when those arrangements need to be made the family will find great comfort in knowing that we are doing our parents' will. And we will not have the added grief of searching and digging for insurance papers and financial accounts.
Perhaps it is the mathematician in me, but I feel the need to be oh so very practical at this moment. And that goes beyond my parents and to my own immediate family.
When one of our very best friends passed away just two and a half months ago his family had no idea if there was life insurance or not. They are still searching through his records. The house has been put on the market but, the market being what it is, there is a good chance the house will go into foreclosure.
Rob is a finance guy. That is his profession. As such he takes care of the finances at home too. Until our friend's death I wasn't quite sure where Rob filed all the important papers. Now I do. But after all that has happened over the past week, I believe that I will have Rob do one more thing for me. I've asked him to create a spreadsheet with all of the accounts, policies, passwords, and what have you. I will put it in a safe deposit box or other secured place so that I am prepared in the unlikely event that I should ever need such information.
One thing that brings me peace is that we have life insurance through the Knights of Columbus. Whether I am the first to go or it is Rob, the Knights will take good care of our family. They are wonderful about coming in and helping families after a death with the necessary paperwork. Who, in their grief, wants to think about paperwork? Yet, it cannot be avoided. It must be done. We could probably find life insurance cheaper elsewhere but I get a lot of comfort knowing that our insurance payments go to a charitable, pro-life organization as well as having seen the tenderness and kindness the Knights have extended to family and friends when the death of a spouse shattered their world.
I share all this with you because you need to think about these things too. If you have not already, get with your spouse or your parents and make sure that you know how you can most easily handle arrangements and finances in a worst case scenario. It will be uncomfortable, I promise. But you need to do it. Today.