When talking to my dad recently about his kind-of-near-death experience, he asked me if I had “a plan” in place. The question itself took me by surprise a bit, because I never really thought about it before. But with me turning 42 this weekend, I have found that mortality is looking at me so I need to be prepared.
I don’t have a will…primarily because I don’t have any real assets to pass down to my children. That’s terrible, I know…but I also know that I’m not alone in this situation. I had a house but I sold it. I have a car, but that would need to be returned or paid off. I don’t own any land. I don’t have any investments other than a small RRSP that Sunshine and I both started a few short months ago. I don’t have any savings. Thus, I don’t have a will.
Still…I know that I need to have some type of idea of how I want things to go after I die, so I suppose I need to make a checklist of sorts and get it all written down now. This might be a bit morbid, but I’d like to have it “on the record” in case something were to happen down the road:
- I want to be cremated. Don’t waste money on a coffin…put me into a jar. And not a ceramic jar, either. I want to go into a thermos or some kind of stainless steel easy-to-carry jar or container (more on that later).
- The above stipulation means ensuring that my dad, if he’s still alive, doesn’t try to get me buried in the “family plot” in my old hometown. Listen, knowing that my grandparents and my parents are resting in the same location gives me peace…but that small town isn’t my home anymore. My home is with my wife, and I know what I want her to do.
- I want her to spread my ashes out in various locations. I would hope that my wife lives much longer than I do, so the thought is that she eventually travels to some of the places that we have been together (Belize, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Roatan, Tampa, Grand Turk, even Meat Cove) and scatters me into the ocean or the jungle or the dirt somewhere. I want to lay peacefully in the places that mean the most to me…and those are places I went with my soul mate.
- Sunshine will have to arrange whatever payments are made from my life insurance and distribute them as she sees fit. Between her, my stepdaughters, and my own three children…there will be various places that the funds could go. I trust her implicitly to do the right thing and divide the money in a fair and equitable way (or keep it for herself…whatever she feels is best).
- I don’t want a sad funeral. I want people to remember me in a positive way. Tell jokes…tell crazy stories…play cheesy 80’s music. I want to pass on in the same way that I have lived over the past few years: in a fun way. Of course, that doesn’t mean I want people wearing clown costumes or getting drunk at my wake…I just want things to be as light-hearted as possible. Death is a very sad thing. The grieving process takes a lot longer than the few days it takes to go through a wake, a funeral, and a burial. Therefore, why should you spend those times sad and grieving? Please don’t mourn my death. Rather, celebrate my life instead.
- I’d like Sunshine to keep this blog active. When my children grow up into adults, they will only have memories of their father. I don’t know if they’ll ever really KNOW me like I’d like them to, so this blog will be a way for them to get a sense of who I was as a person…not just as a parent. For better or for worse, I think it will be important for them to know who their dad really was.
- I’d like to keep my Facebook account active, as well. The primary reason for this is that all of those photos from the past few years hold a TON of special memories for me. They also tell the story of who I am and who I turned into. Pictures of work trips, vacations, my kids, and just every day silliness with Sunshine are important to me and, I would think, are important to them, as well. In this digital age, photos can sometimes vanish in the blink of an eye (or in the misplacement of a memory flash card). Keeping the account active would mean a lot to me.
I guess that’s about it. Morbid? I suppose. But I think it’s important to tell my loved ones this type of information now so that people aren’t scrambling or taken by surprise should an unfortunate event happen.
What about you? Do you have plans in place? Am I crazy or weird for even writing this all down?