It’s a hell of a thing…
… to decide how you’d like to end it all when the time comes, in other words when life becomes unlivable and unbearable. Stop all treatment? Allow some treatment? Allow nature to take its course? Palliative hospice care? At home or in a facility? Fight to prolong life as long as possible? Unalive myself? Take advantage of medical aid in dying? [Note: I’ve shared my thoughts and feelings about all this at length in Death with Dignity.]
It’s a hell of a thing to decide who should be first, second, and third to be notified of your death: names and contact information for family, friends, neighbors, doctors, undertakers, and executors.
A hell of a thing to consider how much ceremony (and burden on your survivors) should be involved after your passing: Traditional open casket funeral? Celebration of life? Church Service? Wild party? Nothing?
A hell of a thing to decide the disposition of your lifeless body for eternity… Organ donation? Medical school cadaver? Medical research? Burial? Cremation? Composting? Other?
It’s a hell of a thing to compile and share all your personal information: legal name, date and place of birth, social security number, legal residence, telephone number(s), marital status, dependents, Medicare/Medicaid information, citizenship, military service, veteran’s benefits, employment history, education records, voter registration, passport, club, union, and organization memberships.
A hell of a thing to compile, document, and share your financial life as necessary: savings and checking accounts, credit and debit cards, brokerage accounts, pensions, 401ks, annuities, stocks, bonds, real estate, business interests, outstanding debts, mortgages, liens, life insurance, health insurance, direct deposits, social security income, sustaining charitable donations.
It’s a hell of a thing to decide who you trust and who will be entrusted with managing your financial affairs should you lose the capacity to speak and act on your own behalf.
A hell of a thing to decide who you trust and who will be entrusted with honoring your final wishes should you lose the capacity to speak and act on your own behalf.
A hell of thing to decide how to care for and who will care for your dependents, children, and pets.
A hell of a thing to review your digital life: personal computers, smart phones, websites and social media, email addresses, and password access to above. To decide what’s worth preserving for posterity. What should be deleted. What should remain private. What to share with loved ones and the wider world when you’re gone.
It’s a hell of a thing… as necessary as it is vulgar… to decide what will become of your money and material possessions–so dispassionately called your “estate”–when you’re gone. A hell of thing to make it all legal.
A hell of thing to compile all the necessary documents. To decide where to store them, how to store them. To decide who to inform of their existence, significance, and location. Who will be granted access–by password, combination, or key.
A hell of a thing to communicate all the above to your loved ones and legal representatives as appropriate—first during the planning stages, second after your decisions have been made, and third after all legal arrangements are complete. A hell of a thing to decide WHAT to share, WHO to share it with, HOW to share it, WHEN to share it, IF to share it.
So much to consider.
So much to decide.
So many heavy conversations.
A hell of a thing to share all the above as needed–verbally and in writing–to ensure all your wishes are understood, respected, protected, and honored. Not a time for confusion or misunderstanding.
All the above not knowing how long the rest of your life is going to be.
It’s a hell of a thing.
A hell of a thing.