Long commutes suck! They make you think too much, analyze things and worry. This week I've been thinking about death and funerals and what happens on earth after people die. When you die, you go to Heaven or Hell, but what happens to the people left here, and particularly a spouse? Does he or she downsize their house? Does he or she move in with an adult child so he or she won't be alone? What is best for the person left behind?
Estate planning isn't something people want to think about. As separate words, they are: "Estate" seems to imply some big beautiful mansion-type house with beautifully landscaping and flowery gardens while "planning" involves preparation, many times an exciting preparation, for events to come. However, when the two words are put together they have a whole different meaning: planning for what you'd like done after you are no longer in this world to express it yourself.
I am the oldest of 8 children, and as a child, I remember that my parents let us know that should something happen to the both of them, we were going to go live with their friends. The friends had been asked, and they had agreed to this responsibility should the need arise. In my eyes, all in all, this family was a good choice. And when you weighed the pros against the cons, the pros won out. This family lived on a farm, and then later on moved to a house on a lake (pros). They had a daughter who was fun to hang out with and sons who were fun to look at (pros). But these handsome boys did like to hunt and were successful enough that we had to try venison once, and that was most definitely a con.
Then when I became an adult I was told that I would inherit my siblings if something happened to my parents. I have to admit my first thought was disappointment that I wouldn't be going to the house with the boys... I mean the house with the venison. Who am I kidding...beef trumps venison any day of the week. Ok, back on track. Then I felt honored that my parents would entrust their children to me. Wait, they were willing to entrust all SEVEN of their children to me. And how would I take care of them? For starters, the house we lived in at the time was owned by the church, and since I wasn't going to be the pastor, I was pretty sure we would need a place to live. And at that time, I could barely cook so how would I feed all these children? And how would my part-time job support us all? While I am so thankful we never had to find answers to these questions, I also know that we would have, and we would have been fine.
Every so often TV shows will spark the "estate planning" discussion with me and Brian. We have had the discussion of who would take care of our children if we no longer could, and we have tabled that discussion as we decided no one could replace us as some were too strict, some too lenient, some didn't share our beliefs, some were too old, some too young, so we just didn't decide on anyone.
I can remember having a favorite dress when I was in my late teens/early twenties. It was royal blue and beautiful. I told my Mom at the time that if I died, I wanted to be buried in it. Well, it doesn't fit anymore. So part of my estate planning is to make it known that my new chosen burial outfit is the jeans that make my butt look good (Heidi and Lara know which ones), and either a purple or black top, preferably long or 3/4 length sleeves unless my arms are finally toned by the time I die. Let's be real, they won't be, stick with the long sleeves. And I don't know if you wear shoes in there or not, but if so, I want stiletto heels. Since I won't have to stand or walk, I will finally be able to wear them. Hailyn knows the ones I like. And have Allie do my make-up, she watches me all the time so she knows how I like it. And people should cry at my funeral, they don't have to bawl, but a few tears would be appreciated so I'll feel missed. And then they can laugh and smile and share funny stories.
So I don't know who will care for my children if I can't do it. I don't know who will get my estate which will consist of clothes ranging about four sizes (clothes I hope to fit back into and fat clothes kept for comfort), shoes, almost brand new unused exercise equipment, cookbooks and recipes, a cool party bus (aka minivan) and bills. I don't know where I want to be buried or where I want my funeral held. And I don't really want to think about it.