My Stepdad is having his heart surgery next Tuesday, and today my immediate household had the dreaded talk. It's the talk that every family needs to have at some point in time, especially as a loved one ages.
That discussion being the topic of death, burial plans, wills, and paperwork that ensues after a loved one has passed away.
It's depressing as all hell. Yeah - lots of tears have been shed today - and more will ensue until the point after the operation occurs (and during, naturally).
But sadly, people die.
I desperately want my stepdad to make it through his surgery as planned. I want him to wake up and go back to his old self as usual without any complications.
--- However, there is also the possibility that stroke or death could occur before the surgery has concluded.
And my mother and I have to prep for this. My mom did so superstitiously, as if the discussion of death conjure it up unwillingly. But I told her that no matter how much we avoid this dreaded topic, eventually someone in our household will eventually succumb to death. My parents are getting older. I have health issues. This is a topic that needs to be touched upon and not glanced over until it has happened.
Mortality sucks. We all want to live forever. We want the people that we love the most to live for all eternity with us on Earth. And yet, the truth is: Everyone eventually dies as assuredly as they are born into the world.
My personal motto:
Well, it stands to hold 100% truth, sadly.
But being prepared for the possible passing of a loved one is as important as preparing your household for a severe storm, or readying your vehicle for winter weather.
What are the burial plans that your family may have? Will there be a funeral? Will there be a cremation or a traditional coffin burial? Where will the ownership titles and deeds of your passed loved one go to after they have gone? Which family member will receive what? Is there a will? Where is the Social Security paperwork that you and your loved ones will need in case your loved one passes in your household? How do you file the taxes of a deceased family member? Who will become head of the household in terms of financial and tax code requirements after the head of the household has passed away? How do you transfer the vehicle title of a spouse into your name after they have passed? Who do you have to notify regarding state and federal mandates if someone in your family has died? How do you get accounts (like cellphone bills, utilities, etc) transferred over into your name after a family member has passed? Does your loved one have any liens or outstanding unpaid bills/loans that you need to be aware of?
What happens next?
Where do we go from here?
How do we put the pieces of our lives back into place and move on again?
These are all necessary and incredibly difficult subjects that MUST be answered before a loved one has passed away - especially if that loved one is the head of your household!
My mom, naturally didn't want to talk about these things today, but my stepfather did. And so did I.
I told my mother that although it was understandable that she didn't want to talk about such things - to pretend that nothing bad will ever happen and not talk about death until it is too late to have questions answered is a very bad life choice.
So, we talked. And as I mentioned before - we cried.
Nothing bad may happen.
And then something bad may happen.
It's one of the toughest topics to face - the death of someone you love - but after I lost my Petey and our BF Chuck in 2014, exactly two weeks apart from each other, I came to realize that topics like these cannot be ignored.
My Petey was a good example of what happens when there is no preparation for death prior to its occurrence. I still don't know where he's buried and he was the love of my life. His family told charge, took his belongings, had a quick funeral, and then took off.
My BF Chuck, who had known he was dying of cancer, had pre-planned his funeral, his cremation, wrote his will and made sure it had been witnessed, discussed his after-burial instructions, transferred his truck title over to his fiance, and made sure all of his affairs had been settled prior to his passing on June 22, 2014. Everything went smoothly with his post-death situation, because things had been discussed and planned ahead of time.
In this way - with the two very eye-opening deaths in my life of two people whom were like family to me - I came to realize that while mortality discussions totally suck, they are something that totally needs to be done in the event that death happens.
My stepdad's heart surgery is exactly a week from today. My fingers and toes are crossed. I'm scared as all hell. I'm praying like a victim standing helpless at the beginning of a F5 tornado.