Oh I know, you think I want to die first so I can escape the pain of mourning my husband. That would certainly be a grand perk, but I told you before, I am not a romantic. I have practical reasons.
Y’ever think about when you’re old and how you’ll live?
I don’t mean the kind of old you are now. I don’t mean a particular age. I mean if you live long enough to outlive your life.
My family members generally don’t outlive their lives. As the proud offspring of my mutt-y heritage, I should like to continue this trend in having the decency to die while I’m still in control of my mind. Unfortunately, I’ve given up smoking and I don’t drink a lot, so I may be forced to live an extra seven to ten years longer than is customary for my kin. Or maybe I’ll die tonight when The Boogey Man comes out of the closet. One can never be too sure.
I’m not being glib. Well, not more than usual. I’ve had a lot of therapy. Anxiety disorder is riddled with fears of death and a complete lack of trust in others, so I realize that you may find this post odd. I think you’ll be alright. “And if you’re not alright, you’ll be dead, and then you won’t care.” (Step 1 in overcoming fear of death, via my shrink)
I have a husband for whom longevity is hereditary, so my plan is to go first. As long as I die first, I’ll have nothing to worry about. STICK TO THE PLAN, MOTTERN!
Although, you should listen carefully, because I might be on the other side, screamin about how he accidentally killed me with medicine interactions or intolerance, or maybe I won’t care, because I’ll be dead, and full of love and joy. It’s hard to say.
I think my kids are great people, but who knows what they’ll be like when I’m too old to bop em on the back of the head and yell at em. Maybe they’ll become sycophantic vultures. We can’t know for sure.
I’ve seen and heard things people’s loved ones do in times of crisis and intervention, and I don’t want any part of that. I’ll give you some honest to God quotes:
“If we put her in a nursing home now, do we inherit?”
“But I have power of attorney.”
“Only for this account.”
“Well who’s got power of attorney for this other account?”
“I am not at liberty to say.”
“Honey, if you want anything, take it now, because when I die they’re gonna fight over it and there will be nothin left for you.”
“It’s like she just won’t die.”
“My son is an asshole. He says he needs the money to pay my taxes. What do I know?”
“She’s just mad because we took away her pills and now we dispense them as directed.”
“How do I know what to do if I can’t see the will until he dies?”
If you’ve lived awhile, I bet you’ve been part of similar discussions. It’s depressing.
The greed and control are disheartening.
Of course, on the other end of the spectrum are the families who do everything they possibly can to enrich their aging parents’ lives, and still wonder if it’s enough.
Still, I think most families have that one imperious person, who simply cannot be trusted to act with integrity.
I have a will and a living will and people know stuff about it, but maybe I won’t get to go first and my kids will be all over the country living their lives, and I’ll be unable to live my life well, and they’ll put me in a home, and I’ll be the weird old lady who collages her room with photos from Cat Fancy.
Or maybe one of them will swoop in and take over. Maybe I’ll be held hostage and watched like a hawk. Maybe they’ll commit terrible crimes against me, like dressing me in polyester gowns, leaving my toenails unpainted, forcing me to drink weak coffee and watch reality television.
Good gravy, what if they deprive me of the interwebz?
Oh sure, they’re sweet now, telling me they’ll read to me and wash my hair and drive me around, but that’s because they don’t actually have to do any of that, much like the puppies they promise they’ll walk, feed, play with, and bathe.
I figure if my kids turn out awful, I could probably get one of my nephews to sneak me in some hooch…
Hey, that’s yet another obvious reason to spoil the shit out of grandchildren, isn’t it?
One word: Advocate. Everyone should get an advocate. It should be free. At the first sign of trouble, like someone says, “You’re too old to be eating all this ice cream!” the advocate should appear as if from nowhere. The advocate should be able to bop your kids on their heads, yell at em, shame em, and send them to bed without cocktails. The advocate should be able to throat punch your greedy niece as she reaches for your sapphire brooch. The advocate should make sure your toenails are painted properly for each season, that you’re dressed in comfy breathable cotton, that your coffee is freshly ground Sumatra, as well as making sure that your laptop, wifi and dvr are all in working order.
Your advocate should say things like, “Sassy, get your mother another Valium,” and “Moo, rub your mother’s feet.”
Anyway, I needn’t worry about it, since I will be dying first.
Likely not today.
I’ll have The Mister check for The Boogey Man.
And I’ll make sure to give the children ice cream and let them stay up late.