Friday, February 6, 2015

How Fragile is Life, Even When Lived Fully

Ok, so it's been a while since I've written...and I missed it.  But I wasn't ready to write and that makes a huge difference to me.  I simply cannot write just to be writing.  Why wasn't I ready?  Something in me changed, fundamentally changed.  We've all dealt with the loss of a loved one and we all, eventually, find a way to move forward again.  The same has happened with me.  However, this past loss seemed to be different and I wasn't sure how or why.  Heck, I wasn't even aware of how it affected me for some time.

Why was the loss of my father-in-law this past October so hard?  What made this more difficult for me?  Now that I think about it, the answer is life and my family and my age.  In order to help honor a fellow veteran and pay respects to a hard-working man, I helped to arrange his funeral, helped my wife through the myriad of paperwork and legal filings to finalize the estate, and simply held my wife when she cried.  These are the simple things that any decent and loving husband would do, and I did them without a thought.  Yet, it changed me.

Much of the process was made so much easier by a thoughtful man whom was no longer with us planning out every aspect of other's lives when he was no longer with us.  And that was a stark reminder to me that I should, must, and will do this for my own family.  Yet, what is right?  When is right?  When should I decide how my own funeral will be?  How do I determine my final resting place?  How do I ensure my family is financial secure while still alive and planning for my own retirement currently?  Stress entered the equation...I want to do it all right, but what is right?

Then I realized what I was doing to myself...and stopped.  Having open and honest conversations with your loved ones is a sufficient start.  We can then methodically move through the items that are most important.  Establishing a will, a living will, reviewing life insurance needs, knowing where all the papers, account numbers, and benefits are located.  It's a process, just like life, not a checklist to be completed instantaneously.

When 2015 ends, my family will be more prepared, all because of the example set by a loving husband, father, and human being.  However, 2015 will also find many celebrations, new memories, and successes.  Prepare, but don't be consumed!