People don’t do this well. Because writing death instructions is hard.
And time consuming. And annoying. And not exactly how anyone would see themselves wasting time in the last day, week, or month of life. Annoying again.
There must be an instruction manual. Jan handed me a planner; it wasn’t personal at that point. I can look for it.
My Living Will had a lot of spaces for instructions, long form, lots of blanks.
If a person leaves no guidance, it is very difficult. If they leave instructions, that can be just as concerning. Dad wrote a line on an instruction sheet. “I would rather not live in a nursing home.” It burns! Pushing three years. My heart aches for him.
Service or no memorial. Lots of people, only close people. Musical choices, spiritual readings. Casket or cremation. Location of remains. Disbursement of property. (Tip: don’t leave your underwear for your daughter in law. Please throw away all of my undergarments! Should be obvious. I don’t have a daughter in law, so hopefully this is just an echo of being one.)
It takes a lot of thought, a ton of conversation, and effort.
Kwami and I began a video journey around the house. It is a start. I am talking about what has history, and what is junk. What items have a story or belong to certain family members in the event that the kids don’t want to hang onto the heirlooms. Just stories. History. But the vase is just a vase without the story. We finished the kitchen and family room. The bedroom will be so much trickier, with all of the spiritual stuff and gifts received, the things I “value”, and that look like a cultural museum of oddity. My artwork. My creations. Others’ forms of beauty.
This is part of the adventure. It is part of embracing the book we read months ago, Stephen Levine, A Year to Live. Releasing. Completing. Untying myself from the stuff. Going through drawers and stacks, sorting out the recycling and the items that are ready to be repurposed. It is constant.
We are being called to purpose. We need to clear the clutter of the mind. The clutter of the future. The clutter that death clamors to create.