Death. It is inevitable. It is closer than we expect. Always.
My father died many years ago. He was squared away with his life. He told me that he had no unfinished business. Nothing left undone. “Can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve done what I wanted and needed to do.”
Go without regrets. As good as it gets.
Mom? Not so much. She fought to the very end — with a ventilator in her throat, she gave a deliberate nod to inform the doctor that she still wanted to be resuscitated should her heart stop during the procedure to unblock her lung. Three days before she died, she was still calling the shots. Clearly, she was not ready to go.
i’ve learned a lot while handling her estate. She did an exceptional job of getting things in order – the big things, anyway. There are some things i’m discovering that have me scratching my head, but mostly she wasn’t confused about her wishes and had everything in place to make that happen.
i have some work to do… not just regarding the disposition of my estate, but making sure i can go without regret or unfinished business. This will be a year of mindful attention to that. Focus on a few items that could potentially be deathbed regrets.
Bridges: There are people in my life that i have loved, and for whatever reason, discarded or lost. In some cases, i have no interest in rebuilding the bridge – i feel an urge to nuke it til it glows and strafe it in the dark. i can count such people on one hand.
There are others… a misunderstanding… getting angry and closing the door, sometimes without explanation. My tendency is not always to discuss, argue or sort it out. i have, on occasion, simply walked away without explanation. In other cases, it’s just life, distance, and circumstance that has led me away. People i used to be close to, but our Venn Diagrams no longer intersect on a regular basis. We’ve just lost touch.
If i were to find myself on my deathbed in the near future? Suspect i’d have a few regrets about these relationships. After Mom died, this started to gnaw on me a bit – a couple lost friends bravely reached across the divide to offer condolences. Condolences that were graciously accepted, and appreciated. i need to work on a few bridges – not to rebuild old relationships in all cases, but to assure that there are no unresolved questions.
Ducks: i’m over 50. i have multiple hobbies that are somewhat high risk, i need to get my ducks in a row financially. Simplify. Direct assets rather than leave an estate. No great epiphanies or soul-searching here, i just need to do the work.
This also includes a un-fucking my space. We still haven’t started excavations on the massive storage locker full of all of Mom’s ‘stuff’. i do not wish to leave a bunch of useless shit to my children. The Boy says he’s selling my place fully furnished, all ‘stuff’ in place. Truth is, someone, somewhere, will be stuck going through all of this and i’d like to make it as simple as possible. So the de-clutter and un-fuckage continues.
Vessel: Retirement. The clock is now UNDER three years. As it looks, i will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without working again. This is amazing, and i should not squander such good fortune… Travel figures prominently in my future. More than a week on holiday here and there, there will be months spent on the road. Chasing the Northern Lights, hiking through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu, being a volunteer SCUBA diver supporting reef health monitoring in a variety of warm climates….
i must continue to un-fuck my body… the vessel that will carry me forward (with any luck) into some ridiculous adventures ahead. This is a lifetime thing, not a ‘one year and done’ endeavor. Having a reasonable exercise schedule ingrained gives me a decent start.
This is my charge for the new year. The quarterly blog updates were helpful – i felt accountable. i’ll do the same this year – as much for myself as for your entertainment!