April 18, 2001
Several Things, All Related
I have several things on my mind tonight. First, thanks to Doug, who not only wrote me about the entry I wrote yesterday, but also shared in his entry for today the story of his father's last years. It is a lovely, loving piece that he has written; please make sure you read it. Thanks also to Bonnie for her kind words.
Although these anniversaries surrounding the time of Mother's death are upon me, and although that time was desperately hard for me, there are people who did all they could to make my life easier at that point. My friend Wendy, in more ways than I can count, helped. So did all the lawyers in the law firm where I was working (and where Wendy was and is legal assistant). They all pointed out things I would need to think about, and assured me that they would help as they could when it came time to settle Mother's estate.
Something that turned out to be handy for me was that the firm did and does a lot of estate planning and probate work, so I had already become familiar with some of the questions asked on the forms from the State of North Carolina. That gave me a heads-up on the things I would need to gather when the time came.
All this makes me want to reiterate the notions that I presented a while back, about how all people should plan ahead. Oh---before you ask, yes, I do indeed have a Last Will and Testament. And I also see that document as empowering.
There's been some discussion of late about what to say to a grieving person. Trust me on this: the amount of your eloquence does not matter. That you care enough to say you're sorry for the person's loss is the main thing. My gosh, if eloquence were a requirement for writing sympathy notes, or attendance at services, I suspect no one would be willing to assume the burden of either. So if you know someone who has suffered a loss, just say you're sorry. That will be enough. If you do have some other words to share, that's lovely. But if you don't, that's all right.