Alone. Head in hands. Sobbing.
Unable to understand what to do next.
Unable to take in what had just happened, or to perceive how her life would now pan out.
Distraught, and yet needing to keep the family together, the animals tended, and the farm still at least ticking over, she could not even begin to imagine how she would do this.
The worst had happened – her husband and farmer, Willis, had died, alone on a hillside, crushed by the weight of a tractor which had dodgy brakes, and had let itself loose, tumbling down the hillside, with Willis stuck in its path.
Why was he unable to run away? No-one will ever know. He was alone, working solo as he preferred, with Sarah only wondering if something had gone wrong when he did not turn up for dinner that afternoon.
Days went by in numbness; her eldest son returned home to find the paperwork, finances, and other essential items for the running of the farm in disarray, if there at all. Most of everything appeared to have been stored in Willis’s head.
Sarah alternated between rage and feeling utterly bereft; between fear of the future and worry about what they were going to do right now, today. A maelstrom of emotions did not help with the sorting out of the practicalities that now needed to happen, the funeral being the most pressing.
Horror descended as Sarah and the family began to get used to the idea that the worst they could imagine had indeed happened.
Neighbors from far and wide turned up to help. Money poured in from a funding site set up by other friends. The animals still squawked, grunted, and clucked, wanting to be fed. Life continued.
And that’s what happens when someone dies suddenly – life continues. In fact, no matter how they die, whether sudden or not, life continues. That’s just the way it is.
But if this very basic fact is not admitted in advance (preferably well in advance) of death occurring, then stories like Sarah and Willis’ occur. Neither of them had begun to think about how one of them would manage alone, without the other.
Of course, family and friends left behind do manage, at least, mostly. They have no choice. But, oh my goodness, how very much easier it could have been made if only Willis had been willing to think the one thought that no-one ever wants to think:
I dare you to think this thought now, and especially if you have family dependent on income that you are responsible for.
If you don’t dare to think this, then you will likely be leaving your family and friends a very big mess – at the very least a muddle, which they could well do without – at a time when they will be distraught at you not being there.
This story (a true one, with identifying names and details changed) tells of a sudden accident, and most people don’t die like that.
Many have some warning, such as in a serious illness, and most people tend to become more and more frail until eventually, for one reason or another, the body gives up. But does this in itself make people take action about their end of life plans? Not necessarily, sadly.
But it is an action, or rather a series of actions, that needs to be highlighted as important, put on the priority list, and then done.
Paradoxically, when we are willing to face the end, we find ourselves able to appreciate being here, now, more fully. In other words, facing the end enables more joy right now; more pleasure and more satisfaction.
When you put it like that, taking care of your end-of-life matters becomes a bit more palatable, doesn’t it? Even if you still haven’t got a clue where to begin, or your feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it, or you think you simply have not got any more time to take on anything else.
So here are 3 small actions to take right now, to move you forward with this:
Is your will up to date? Make sure it still says what you want it to say. If you haven’t got a will, google an online will writing site for your country, and start the process. Or call a local lawyer to ask what needs to happen for you to get a will made.
If you were unable to speak, or couldn’t manage your finances for any reason, who would act for you? This is a power of attorney. If you don’t have one in place, then the first step is to find the answer to who this might be and then take the necessary legal action to put them in place.
Decluttering is just one part of a good end-of-life plan. Forget about doing anything about it other than selecting one bookshelf, one drawer, or one small area of a room. Commit to tidying that so at least all the stuff there looks better!
The next step will be to sort through, say 10 books, half of the drawer, or the small area. But if you only do the tidying, you have still started, and you still get to celebrate yourself! (Very important when doing decluttering!)
Which action will you take today? Go and do it now then come back and use the comments to share your accomplishment.