by Jillian Bogater (Exile From Hysteria)
With a major surgery hanging over me like a dark cloud, I realized I had to get my life in order.
Specifically, I had to write a will. My first one.
How did I make it to 42 years old without writing one out? Easy.
Up til now, I haven’t had reason to get all serious. I mean, I have no children, and I’m not married. I own a house and a beater car, but I have no jewelry or items of worth.
And there’s mortality to think of. Or not. I’ve opted to bury my head deep in the sand, waiting for a sign that I should start acting like an adult.
Finding out I need a hysterectomy was all the nudge I needed.
From what I can tell, the morbidity rate for hysterectomies is relatively low — although abdominal procedures like the one I will have rank a bit more dangerous. Still, my neurotic mind goes all sorts of crazy as I imagine the possibilities.
Recently during dinner at a restaurant, without warning I blurted out: “I want to be cremated.”
My boyfriend Matt purposefully chewed a piece chicken.
“OK. If that’s what you want,” he said, grabbing the basket in front of him. “Pita?”
Yeah. No one wants to talk about this stuff. But it’s got to be done.
So I called my lawyer, the one that helped me out when my grandfather was dying. I told him I was finally ready to fill out a will. He asked me what took so long.
There’s not enough time in the day.
I had him give me the works. A final will and testament, a general power of attorney, a living will, final disposition instructions, just to name a few of the documents that were drawn up. I will go next Wednesday to sign them all and make it final.
I’ve lived a pretty carefree life up until now. I’ve stared death straight in the face … and laughed. On more than one occasion. Not once did I ever wonder if I had my affairs in order.
But a lot has changed. A few years ago I got sober. Life has come into focus. I’ve also had my share of death in recent years. I lost all four grandparents. An uncle. My father. I’ve seen how a solid will can make things easier for surviving family members. I’ve also seen how a poorly drafted will can destroy them.
So this week I will formalize documents that legally acknowledge my end.
I consider this a beginning.