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The Dearly Departed

Sunday, January 31, 2021

I just turned 74 last week. When I was a (much) younger woman in my 30's and maybe even into my 40's, I remember reading obituaries and thinking, "Well, s/he was 68. That's a good life lived." Now when I see the obits, I have an entirely different attitude.

Bob: I just saw here that Joe Blow* died yesterday.
Jane: Oh no! How old was he?
Bob: It says here he was 76 years old.
Jane: My gosh! Already?? That's so sad . . . so soon, so unexpected.

Unexpected? Shocking that someone died at 76 years old? When it is that "close to home" for me, I suddenly hit my own mortality right in the head against death's door. That prompts a lot of agonizing thoughts about how under-prepared I am to cavort down that tunnel. These this seem to come to light:

#What if I go before Bob? Will he be able to fill his pill sorter by himself? We he learn at last the art of sorting laundry so his tidy-whities don't become pinky-dinky? Will he remember to change the litter before the cat climbs into the pot with the succulents to deposit something not-so-succulent? Will he resort to eating bacon and peanut butter as dietary staples?

#What if Bob goes before me? Who could I hire to do the truly hideous tasks for me that Bob does with great attention and love . . . such as killing spiders as big as a hubcap? Unplugging the toilet when I can only peak through my hand-covered eyes at the refuse? Will I remember to go to pick up the mail before the mail lady calls the sheriff for a well-check? Will I resort to talking all day to the pets? (OK, so I already do that . . . but they are cute and seem to listen.) Who will tell me jokes? Who will laugh at my jokes?

#What if we go together? That seems rare (although we have know two couples who died within a day of each other). In this time of pandemic it happens with some regularity. This leaves my three kids to inherit things I wish they wouldn't have to see. Will they be aghast at the dust on my baseboards? Will they laugh at my underwear (some of which are older than my youngest child)? Will they marvel at the paperwork that I leave behind, carefully filed in four four-drawer file cabinets? Will they haul trunk-loads of my treasures to the thrift store?

We are a loving family. I know there will be tears. I hope there will be laughs as they remember the retro-parents . . . "Mom called these flipflops 'thongs' . . . as if!" "Oh my goodness, remember how dad always called the fridge an "icebox"? "Here's another one . . . Dad called his Nikes 'sneakers' and Mom call her Skechers 'tennis shoes' but there isn't a single tennis racket in all this stuff." "I will miss Mom's spaghetti and meatballs and Dad's advice and hands-on-help in all things home improvement."

By now I feel exhausted and somewhat as if I've had an out-of-body experience right here at my computer. I could go on for pages, but I've set the goal today of cleaning out the icebox. So, see you later alligator.

*With apologies if there is someone out there named Joe Blow.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    After my car accident last year, I had all kinds of thoughts about dying. What happens if my brain doesn’t recover? Will I be a burden to my family? Then I thought to myself that God put me here and gave me talents to use for a reason. Instead of dwelling on what if’s, I’d better put my mind to healing up and get back to the reason I was put here in the first place. God spared me for a reason when there was no other explanation. So I’m still here plugging away and doing the best I can.
    84 days ago
  • LOSINGIT2020
    Wonderful blog. Honest, funny, touching loving.
    101 days ago
    This year I will be 50. In 2020 we had a yard sale. I got rid of some much CRAP. We burned paper for hours. Embarrassing things that I wouldn't want anyone to find -- basically because they would think I was CRAZY for keeping such things. But in the back of my mind, I have started to think about decluttering and getting rid of 'things' I don't need or use. I don't want my hubby to be cleaning for me and I don't want our son to be saddled with so much 'junk.'

    Yes I have thongs in the house that I wear on my feet and I said icebox to my 10 year old the other day and she stopped walking and turned to look at me. Hubby and I laughed and laughed. I said fridge, he then proceeded on.

    It's amazing how some words for things stay with us. Good memories and GREAT blog.

    I laughed at Joe Blow.

    103 days ago
    103 days ago
    So well said. I'm not far behind you in age. I'm looking forward to heaven, but the things and people left behind cause me uncertainty. I've been reviewing end-of-life instructions for family this week, so your blog resonates with me. As the keeper of the family treasures that have been passed down for generations, disposal is difficult since the grandchildren are not interested. I can picture what you wrote, things going off to the thrift shop.
    I had to laugh about the words we call things that the next generation no longer uses. Thongs, sneakers, tennis shoes, so true.
    Loved this blog!
    103 days ago
    I better get started going through papers and pictures and decluttering every room in the house or I would be embarrassed to leave all that for whoever had the task of doing all that.

    I have been thinking about that for years. But, I just know when I get rid of things I will need them next week or a year from now. I can't tell you how many times I have needed something that I sold in a yard sale for pennies and had to rebuy it at twice what I paid for it.

    What I have started doing is giving things to whoever compliments me on something they like. If I know it's something I haven't used in a long time I just gift it to them. I think they will remember that it came from their mom, grandmother, or great-grandmother when I'm gone.

    My oldest great-granddaughter (18 yo) spent last summer with us and I sent her home with several things I think she will treasure and get some use of. I just found out that she is having a baby next September so I will be a great-great-grandmother. I'm so excited to meet this new member of our family. So, I'm not ready to go yet. Besides, I still have a lot of junk to give away. How about you Jane?

    emoticon Bobbie
    105 days ago
    OH my. You have echoed my thoughts for sure. I am pretty sure I could handle myself pretty well, but think DH would be lost. We are both going over finances together and know where important papers are, have our wills updated. So feeling like it's a pretty good start.

    DH is good @ laundry. He is slowly learning from me how to cook simple things. At least I know he could make peanut butter and jelly.

    105 days ago
    I often wonder/picture how my dear man will do without me ‘should I predecease’ him...one of our little jokes when we show each other important things that the other one doesn’t know how to do.
    We travel lightly in this world but having to clean put his 93 year old father’s house taught us to really keep stuff to a minimum.
    106 days ago
  • V72392
    106 days ago
  • 17LYNDA
    It's good to reflect like this, but remember to live each day to your fullest no matter your age. I am retired now and can relate so much to this blog.
    106 days ago
    Enjoy each day & appreciate your loved ones. Don't worry about the future...live in the here & now.
    106 days ago
    I am 64 and have been thinking along these lines as well! It should be a priority for me to sort through and clear out some of my stuff so my poor son and his wife don't have to come from Kentucky and deal with so much! 😃
    106 days ago
  • GLORYB83
    Oh my, you really are thinking a lot about the future, Jane! I'm way older than you and my morning thought always is . . . another day to live in the now. Okay, okay, I've thought about what all my kids will have to do when my time is finally up but I think/hope they'll get some smiles and even laughs going through my things.

    Good to see you Jane, I've missed you.
    106 days ago
    You have put into words my thoughts of my age and how unprepared I am. Need to get my act together as I am in my mid 70's. Find myself thinking that this is the last car I will buy because it will outlast me. We just have to make the best of it 😊
    106 days ago
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