7/05/11: Think about it

So if I (you are encouraged to substitute ‘you’ for ‘I’ here) died today, unexpectedly of course, what would happen with the detritus of a life?

  • Someone or some ones would have to retrieve, think about, go through, and make decisions about my personal stuff. Despite the fact that I’m constantly trying to hone down my possessions (see Closing up Shop), I still have an awful lot of stuff. I am in the process of making collages out of pictures, papers, stuff. It’s an enjoyable art project that also makes me go through my stuff and either use it or trash it. At present, it just looks like piles and piles of paper stuff, art supplies, glue, ribbons, and trash, among other collectibles.
  • My journals and (very) personal papers (including tapes of many of my therapy sessions) would have to be sorted out, since I only intended (emphasis on the past tense) to burn them (not so literally, but perhaps a bonfire would be appropriate), but never actually got around to it. And when would be the right time? And do I have to read them (listen to them) again before trashing them?
  • Something would have to be done with my body. I’ve made no arrangements yet. I do have a written directive which has somewhat contradictory information in it, in that I tell my family (actually by family, I mean my son) to ignore previous requests for burial (given that I have not purchased a plot and would have no idea where in the country/world/universe/ that would be) and go ahead and cremate me. I think it’s always hard to second guess requests and withdrawal of requests such as that. But I do mean it. Once anathema to me, I’ve recently warmed up to cremation, so to speak.
  • Someone would have to go through my writings and decide what to do with them. I do have a literary executor, but haven’t had particularly defining conversations with her about this. It’s as if us writers who are mostly unpublished hope or almost expect that if we die prematurely, someone will then publish our work. Sheeeeesh, is what I say to that! It pains me to think I would/might put someone through that tedious task, particularly if I haven’t been able to do it myself.
  • I almost feel like repeating the previous bullet point verbatim here. But won’t.
  • Money, always a real disaster for those left behind. My retirement money (what little there is of it) is scattered in various accounts, and although I try to update my instructions (with passwords and sites and bank account numbers, etc.) these things change too frequently to be totally up to date at any given month, such as July 2011, to be exact. Especially passwords, which they make you change every 10 minutes, it seems. So it would be not so easy to figure out my finances, pay my debts, which are certainly different this month than they were when I had a job.
  • Someone would have to sell my stuff and get it out of the house I am renting before having to pay too many months of rent. This would require travel. I live across the country from anyone/everyone who thinks of me as an intimate. What was I thinking?

I think fondly of my grandfather, who died in a nursing home and left behind virtually nothing. A few undershirts. I have one item to remember him by, a tiny pitch harmonica. I also have one plaid flannel shirt of my father’s. Less is better, I think.

I would like to say that I will try not to die today or any time soon. But I will probably keep thinking about it obsessively. And writing about it. 

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3 Responses to 7/05/11: Think about it

  1. Teddy says:

    At least you only live across the country and not at the ends of the earth. I will be there. ♡

  2. Linda Spalding says:

    you have me thinking about it. Thanks Risa

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