Friday, August 3, 2007

Just A Whisper

Our family attorney is a peach. Harriet is exceptionally intelligent, moral, decent, kind and patient. As regular readers know, I am not a big fan of talking about our eventual deaths, life insurance, etc. Neither is Chuck - really. Compared to Chuck, I could be a funeral director! So imagine how difficult it was for us to slog through our wills. It took us years. That is not an exaggeration. I mentioned our attorney is patient. She held our hands, almost literally, and reworked, rewrote and tweaked until her secretary was probably near exhaustion. It’s not easy to get a worrier/what iffer (me) and a Pollyanna/cockeyed optimist (Chuck), who both wish to live forever and avoid the whole topic, to hammer out wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies. But we did it. We also updated the primary and contingent beneficiaries on our investments and insurance, because Harriet explained those things trump wills.

But even after all that hard work and tsores (ours, Harriet’s and her tireless secretary’s) something was missing. So I (the reluctant potential funeral director) drafted a letter. I addressed it to my primary Health Care Proxy, who is Chuck and my secondary Proxy, who is Carrie. I thought of it as whispering in their ears. I wanted it to be the kind of conversation they would want to have with me, if they were sitting in a hospital waiting room, anxiously awaiting a meeting with a doctor. I spelled out what I believed, what I felt and thought about life and death and ordinary and extraordinary means. I gave them a sort of flow chart of what ifs (See, it comes in handy.) to help them make unimaginably difficult decisions in a time of crisis. Then I copied and pasted it into a new document and told Chuck it was time to write his letter to me and his sister Carol. Bless his heart, he edited it until an equivalent letter was crafted.

I’m glad we wrote those letters. I hope we never need them. But chances are, one of us will. Do you need to write a letter that will whisper in someone’s ear?


Nana Fi said...

Thanks for making me think!!! We have a will but it is now dated and it is time to do another one I suppose. The very thought of dying makes me sick!!!! There is still so much to do and see - not so???? I thing "the wispering" letter is a very good idea as one can be too emotional if talking about to your spouse and children. Fiona

Pink Granite said...

Hi Fiona -
You're most welcome!
I agree that writing a letter gives you a chance to quietly focus your thoughts and share your feelings in a "rational" way. It makes a good adjunt to the wills and the health care directives.
Good luck and L'chaim (to life)!
- Lee