The first time I ever really traveled outside the United States, I was with a delegation of police women participating in the ‘People to People International’ exchange program and planning to visit Russia. Having just divorced, I decided that perhaps I needed to extend my normal travel plans and include emergency provisions “Just in Case”. Since my only sibling would most naturally be the person to have to execute these provisions, I called her to share these arrangements. Not the most pleasant of conversations, obviously, but we were making headway in sharing my “last wishes” and final instructions until I mentioned being buried in the spare cemetery plot next to my Mom and Dad. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that Mother had given her that empty plot! Well, obviously I came back home alive and have not – as yet – needed a final resting place. Over the years, I have rather light-heartedly advised my sister that “whomever died first would get the plot.” Sort of a first-come, first served idea.
I am very happy to say that neither of us have had a need for it yet.
We all have our own horror stories of losing loved ones unexpectedly and without proper prior planning. My brother-in-law kept encouraging me to make funeral plans for my father when he was in Hospice. Ironically, I finally gave in and made the appointment with the mortuary. Once in the business office, the representative started with the essential information but I broke down before I could even give my father’s full name. Simultaneously, there was a knock at the door and we were interrupted by my husband – who had come in person to notify me that my father had literally just died within the hour.
I am obviously not qualified to give legal advice or assist with the execution of someone’s last wishes but I do wish that everyone reading this would try and make provisions for their loved ones to follow if/when the situation arises. A friend lost his 40 year old daughter to cancer a couple of years ago. She had been widowed after her husband was killed in a plane crash leaving her alone with two small children to raise. Now, it’s my friend who is trying to raise his grandchildren, deal with the financial issues, trust funds for the kids and even more importantly is solely responsible for raising and educating those two small now orphaned children. He begged his daughter to share with him her desires and wishes for her children but she never did. Can you imagine how much she could have helped her father with the transition for her children?
I currently have a friend who like me has no children of her own and therefore her nearest relatives are really not that close. In her case, thank goodness, she is still alive but unfortunately, she has begun to exhibit signs of dementia. Whether or not she has made provisions – a will, a power of attorney, etc. – has yet to be determined because she simply can’t remember on her own. There is a lockbox – but no one in the family was ever given access to it. Likewise, no one has access to her banking accounts. How are the bills to get paid? If she must eventually move to a nursing home, which one would be her preference?
Another concern I have that many of us share: pets. When my friend Joanna died from complications from simple foot surgery, she left behind her two precious bundles of joy – both Shitzu pups. The final outcome for the pups was not a pleasant one and Joanna would have been heartbroken if she only knew what happened to them. Living alone with all of these little critters, I feel I am responsible for their care today as well as tomorrow – whether or not I live or die, they deserve a happy, healthy life.
I have made a personal decision to make My Plans, my way. Once completed I will notify my nearest relatives and we will discuss it. My sister can have the extra family plot with Mom and Dad because I have made different provisions. I am very much the black sheep of the family and I know that if the decisions are left for someone else to make, they would not be the decisions I would have preferred. Likewise I know that once I die, my family will have the final say. In his suicide note, a friend asked to be cremated and his ashes dispersed in the pond at his parents’ home. His parents refused – the pain of losing their son was enough without being forced to think of him as forever occupying their peaceful pond.
This month’s Patriot Bargain Alley has been changed to this Friday, May 19th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, May 20th from 9 a.m; to Noon. Hopefully even more people will take advantage of the sale and join in. The alley runs between Highway 156 and Front Street in Patriot and beside the Patriot Baptist Church. There will be books, household items, men’s sized 9 boots and shoes, ‘Betty Boop’ goodies, bird feeders, clothes, some jewelry and lots and lots of surprises. We tentatively have six different families participating this week. Buy, sell or trade! Anyone who wishes to join in is more that welcome. No charge for setup. Feel free to contact me at (812) 594-2281 with suggestions or questions.
If you have anything for me to include in this article, please send it to me. Information can be received any day of the week but normally my deadline is Sunday at noon for that week’s issue of the paper. Any news received later will appear in the following week’s article. If you need something in on a particular date be sure and give it to me early. Thank you for sending me what you do every week – I couldn’t do this without you!
You may contact me several ways: by leaving a note of message inside the cat mailbox in front of 1995 Front Street in Patriot; or by calling my home at (812) 594-2281; or dropping me a note at P.O. Box #01, Patriot, Indiana, 47038. In addition, contact KAY E COOK on Facebook or online at PatriotNews1995@gmail.com.