All over the world scared and misguided people are preparing for an apocalypse they believe was foretold by the Mayans over 1000 years ago. Major movies have been made based on this predicted catastrophe. Books have been written. TV shows, documentaries have spoken to the subject. The History Channel on cable is loaded with End of the World programming all week.
The Mayan calendar prophesy is not one I worry about or believe. If anything catastrophic or particularly unusual does happen it might signal or bring about a change in culture worldwide. But the end of the world is not in my plans for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Christmas and to the year 2013…and 2014 and 2015 for that matter.
But the Mayan Calendar phenomena combined with the tragic shooting and murder of 26 wonderful people in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday got me to thinking about this question, are you ready if your world ends tomorrow? What if you died? Certainly, it’s extremely likely everyone reading this today will be here tomorrow. But none of the 26 in Newtown or anyone who knew them could have fathomed that last Friday December 14, 2012 would be their last day on earth. It’s certainly cliche` but true; nobody knows when their time will come.
I’m not trying to be dark or morbid. Death is part of life and we all will leave this place someday. In most cases you’ll have some idea the end is near. But for far too many the end comes suddenly, and unexpectedly.
Do you have a Will? Do you have funeral plans? What happens to your body once you’re done using it? Who decides?
Are you square with God if you believe in God? What about those you leave behind? Do they know you love them? Do you tell them enough and demonstrate it enough for them to be certain once you are no longer able to tell and show?
In my adulthood I’ve lost two people close to me and been affected by their deaths both emotionally and tangibly. My Grandmother on my Mom’s side, and my father both died in 2001. One had a Will, the other didn’t. They both left behind a mess, one worse than the other.
My Dad died poor, with very few assets. So were he to have had a Will there wouldn’t have been much to dispense. But absent that little document the passing on of his possessions fell to his wife, who was not my Mom. She chose to allow my older brother the pick of seemingly anything he wanted. I was left with what he and she didn’t want. This in spite of the fact that I was closer and more involved with my Dad’s life the last 10-20 years of his life than was my far-away brother. You can imagine my frustration with my stepmother’s decisions. Worst of all was how she handled my father’s most materially valuable possession. He had a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible of which he was the original owner. He kept it in pretty good condition. It was the car I drove when learning how to drive. I wanted it. She didn’t. She offered to sell it to me for a price twice what its sales value was. I happily passed on the offer, but asked her to give me the right to match any offer she received in her efforts to sell it. She agreed but then traded it straight-up for a used Volvo and never told me of it until afterward. Again, you can imagine how I felt about that.
My Grandmother had a Will and left a modest estate of cash and antique furniture. But she used her Will to punish a daughter who for reasons I can’t fathom fell out of her favor. She also used the Will to attempt to control from the grave the life of her other daughter. And she put in charge of the estate a grandson who she’d not had significant contact with for 20 years simply because she, again, wanted to punish others close to her and because she was not a trusting person. Further details aren’t necessary except to say that estate exists today, more than 11 years after her death, and it’s still causing problems, issues, with those she left behind. It’s really sad. I watch it from a mostly disinterested distance and shake my head wondering if the old woman had it as part of her intention to cause so much strife within her surviving family.
Are you ready if your world ends tomorrow? Would you want your surviving friends and family members to speak or write about you as I just have about my Grandmother?
Planning for when you aren’t here is not fun, and its difficult. But take it from someone who knows, its important for those you leave behind. Just thought you’d like to know.
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