Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

What if I die?

I had a disturbed sleep last night. No doubt the coronavirus was on my mind, as I was still thinking about it when I woke up this morning. And about one aspect in particular, what would happen if I was to contract the virus, and die.

Recovery rates in my age group are still low, and if I get the symptoms, there is the possibility that I could be dead within less than a week, perhaps even in just three days. Don’t get me wrong. I am not panicking about it, and not even greatly concerned. If it happens, there’s little I can do to change that.

So should I be planning for that possibility? Making some sort of arrangements, compiling lists, and contacting people I might never see or talk to again? It’s a ‘just in case’ situation, I know, but if I am suddenly struck down, it will be too late then.

One of my friends has my password for WordPress, so should be able to let all my fellow bloggers know I have gone. But what of everything else? All those small ‘administration’ details that never really enter most of our heads.

I don’t have a lot of savings, and the only life insurance I have will pay for my funeral, and leave some change. Julie would have to apply to receive half of my work pensions, and a State widow’s pension. With her part-time job, she might be able to afford to stay on in the house, as it is already paid for. But the regular bills never go down, so there are Council Tax, Water Rates, Electricity, Heating Oil, and regular maintenance to consider. She might well do better to sell up, downsize, and stash a good lump of equity to help in the future.

Then what would she do with my car? It is 13 years old, and expensive to run. She might be able to give it away to one of her family, or sell it for a small amount. Her car is much newer, but has a lot less room for Ollie.

Yes, Ollie is a huge consideration. She will have to change her routine to take him for walks, and cope with him expecting me to come home at any moment.

She doesn’t know the access code for my new PC. Not that she is interested in using it, but even if she gave it away, she would need the code. Perhaps I should write it down for her? And she is never sure what day the bins go out, as I always do that. Should I start a notebook, with all this stuff jotted down? Leave her the contact numbers for the plumber, electrician, and anyone else I usually contact? It seems to me that I should create a ‘Just in case’ notebook, with all sorts of things written down.

Then there is the funeral situation. She already knows that I want a basic funeral, with no religious element. She might even remember the two songs I wanted to be played. But given current conditions, the funeral would be quick, and almost nobody allowed to attend. So maybe that doesn’t need to go in the notebook at all.

The more I think about it, the more small details need to be recorded. Where I keep the key for the electric meter cupboard, how to check the amount of heating oil in the tank, and who to email to order more. When the boiler has to be serviced, where I keep the tiny spare lightbulbs for the bedroom lamps, and so many other silly small things that we take for granted.

Seems to me that dying takes a lot of preparation.

80 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. I hate it when I have the same thoughts in the middle of the night. They don’t happen often, but when they do, it does seem like there would be way too much preparation involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dad died a few weeks ago-I am writing such things as you mentioned, now for my grown children. Business details and my wishes for arrangements, too. So . . .yes, we all ought to do so. Julie would not be able to think clearly and mourn too. We are all still in a state and struggling with “business” . Of course I hope you live a looong and happy life, but it is a sensible notion to record information. best wishes and cheers to the best health! love Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Planning now is wise Pete. We had discussions with my husband’s sister a few days ago. Sharing things like keys, etc. I have passwords in a little notebook. We have time to do this now. And we must prep for the worse case scenario. Here in the US, people lost patience and states are reopening now, too soon. This will only lengthen the time it takes to contain the COVID-19 curve. It’s not looking good. Our state is third for cases and deaths in the US. We are sheltering in place and will for a very very long time.
    I am glad you are thinking ahead. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, not only with the coronavirus, although in my case, other than my mother I don’t have any first-line relatives, and also wonder about my books, the blog… If I had any kind of notice I’d close all the social media accounts, I think, but one can’t count on that. An author I know, who’d been ill for a while, died in February, and he’d made no arrangements (it seems the family didn’t want to consider the worst-case scenario, although the doctors had been quite clear with them), and everything is proving quite complicated, not helped, of course, by the COVID-19 situation now. It’s the last thing the family needs, but I remember my father was very reluctant to looking into the matter, until he survived a heart attack and then he changed his mind.
    Your idea is quite good, and we should all do something similar.
    Thanks, Pete, and keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olga. I should have had something in place longe ago, given what I know from my experience in the ambulance service. But there was always a part of me that thought if I wrote it down, it might then happen. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Not something for me to worry about, everything is in the Gosias name and she pays all the bills, I worry more that she might get rid of me as I’m not actually needed πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This topic is one that most people ignore. It’s not that we don’t think it could happen as much as we don’t like to deal with it. I’ve gone through this in the past couple of years with my mom’s passing. My dad passed more than a decade before Mom, but I was especially grateful that they had spelled out all of their wishes in writing years before. In the last five years of Mom’s life, her dementia had progressed such that she would not have been able to make rational decisions. It would have been much harder for me if I had to make all of those tough decisions without knowing what they wanted.

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  7. Very practical thoughts Pete. I have been clearing paperwork and have written a financial document for the OH. And all our bills are DD from a joint account. Our wills need to be updated though, funeral wishes are known to us, but not our kids, so that needs to be done in case we both go at the same time. What to do with photos is an issue. Family ones will be cherished, but holiday ones are only meaningful for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie made a will when she divorced her first husband. That became invaid when we married. I had no will, so we really should both go and make one. Like I should start on that notebook… πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are a beast, Pete! You’ve now got all of us oldies thinking morbid thoughts. But you’re right. Having spent two years sorting out my father’s paperwork, etc, when he died, I’ve always determined I’d organise things better when the time came. But when is it the right time? It always seems too early, but probably it’s never early enough. You can get run over by bus at 23, I suppose….

        Liked by 1 person

  8. In addition, I think it would be prudent to let our next of kin know what measures we want taken. A friend’s grandmother declined to be put on a ventilator, for instance, preferring to go quickly without it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Julie knows that I would prefer not to be resuscitated, and not kept alive by machines. But who knows what will actually happen, once shock and confusion takes over? I seem to be more concerned about things like where I keep keys and bulbs. Must be my way of dealing with the possibility of imminent demise due to the virus. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Facing one’s mortality is always uncomfortable. I’m on the be prepared side of the fence. When my first husband died, he had six months to live and knew he was a gonner. He just couldn’t accept it and did nothing to make it easier for our children/family. Since then, too many stories from widows and widowers who weren’t prepared have made an impact. I’ve got it all sorted out and left instructions with everyone I love. I want to be recycled with my ashes buried with a tree and planted in my favorite park. That way, other than a fire or natural disaster, I should live another 100 years and people can walk up and give me a hug. I will be reborn. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that! During my stint in the funeral biz I did come away with many newfound concepts of life.. and death. One of the things was the propensity for Western culture to pretty much prefer to be stand-offish to death. More like 5 minutes after Aunt Edna dies out pops the “Ewww…” factor, and not just with kids. Most people do not realize that there are no laws in any states requiring the need for a funeral home… nor is embalming required by law.. although there are a few local health laws to govern how long a deceased can be kept around the house.
      Point being… distribution of cremated remains does generally have some county limitations in some area… but as I oft told family survivors.. what you do on your own, is indeed on your own.
      To add to your thoughts… I recently learned of a “new” concept where a certain location will take human remains and interred them in the ground for the natural effects to take over, then at some point remove them, process the remains a bit, then loved ones can use it as a base to nourish a tree.. similar to your intentions. Glad to see people memorialize like that.

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    2. It sounds to me as if you have really sorted it all out well. I didn’t hardly think about it much until this week, and now I am becoming fixated on the idea of a notebook. Part of me has that old ;witchy’ belief that if I don’t write it down, then I won’t die. Must be some ancient dark European superstitions still dwelling in my DNA. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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          1. Ah.. us Scandinavian Vikings don’t need to rush to get to Valhalla until we are done pillaging the neighboring villages…. when the fat lady sings. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  10. practical and necessary thoughts, Pete. it is always good to be prepared. that’s the first thing i did after retirement. sort things out and gave all pertinent information to my kids. we’re on a big pause right now but i keep looking forward to things i could do post covid πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  11. I started in the loft before the pandemic but didn’t finish – partly because with recycling centres closed there’s nowhere to dump the stuff to be thrown out. I started last week on my study and did make some progress, filling a couple of bin bags of old papers, workshop notes – and wallets of photograph negatives. However, I’d really hate for Jon and David to be left with the mess – so I’m going to renew my efforts. As for passwords – I never know them and rely on Jon to keep a record of them for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are doing well with that sorting out, Mary. I might have to get on with more of that if I see the end of this. Otherwise, I fear that Julie would have no alternative but to dump everything in a skip when I die.
      Best wishes, Pete..

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Yeah, Pete.. I think a lot of us are pondering the same things. Given my risk level(s) I am pretty much thinking I will die if I get it. Better to think that way as it helps to take care not to get it to begin with. Honestly.. I’ve been slowly sinking into the precepts of my inevitable mortality is not far away before this pandemic.
    I’m not all that sure most of us actually fear death as much as we fear the anticipation of it while going through some pain/discomfort to get there. Like some loathsome disease such as cancer…. or if I get this thing going around and the doc tells me after two weeks of facing a fever alone, they are going to have to sedate me while they shove tubes down my throat and they put me on my stomach.. that’s pretty much adios amigo…
    I am realizing there something to be said for the idea of “death on my terms” as being some level of death with dignity… or in the least some defiance.. the middle finger… to the disease itself.

    But yes… due to my hobbies I have a multitude of “disinterest” to dump on my GF as well. A multitude of radios in my “shack” of a spare bedroom… wires and cables going all over the place… multiple antennas mounted on the building… security cams wired around the house.. a garage filled with tools of all kinds.. power tools galore… all of this she has NO interest in. My three kids are 2500 miles away and don’t care.. so they don’t want this stuff as they are inattentive millennials. I’ve told my GF that all this has value only to me.. and when I die it all becomes yard sale fodder. I have resolved that if I get some lingering disease that generally results in death that I would begin to disassemble and dump all this before the end to spare her having to hire someone to tear it all down.. and try to place a yard sale price on it. On the other hand.. if I am walking down the street someday dreaming of the evening pizza and I drop dead to a heart attack… I’ll never know it. A preferred way to go. I told my buddy the other day.. we are two days apart in age… my observations from having been in the funeral biz is that when we are born we are a mess for others to clean up and when we die we are also a mess for others to clean up. Somewhere in between all that most of us clean up ourselves.

    But I do have all of my passwords, oddball monthly service vendors, and all my account numbers, social security,.. printed out only in a binder, not on some hackable PC or thumb drive… as Doug’s Book of Secrets. It’s not stored on a PC. It’s an obscure, unmarked three ring binder, simply out on a bookshelf. You see, if someone were to break into the house they would go for the PC, laptops, hard drives, yada, yada.. no one these days goes for anything in print… much less in some binder on a bookshelf. Even if “they” were to grab the binder to give it a quick look-see.. the bulk of the pages are electronics theory gibberish.. the “secrets” are in the back. All hidden in plain sight.

    But you know.. we all likely prefer spending the last days of our lives giving it some meaning. I’m the guy to do the frontal assault on a machine gun nest.. or, in more contemporary terms, go toward the gunfire in the mall and not run from it. I am guessing Pete.. you’ve love to try and save lives to the end.
    Perhaps we should be grateful we are yet still alive to even think of all this stuff. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Doug. The chances of dropping dead are less than expiring slowly through illness, though I agree the former is preferable. The main benefit of a drawn-out death, or a doctor giving you a certain amount of time, is that you then have a chance to get everything in order before it happens, making life easier for anyone left behind. Covid-19 has taken some people in only 24 hours, so little time to think about not being prepared for all the stuff I am writing about here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  13. I started sorting my papers because I felt guilty about leaving it all for others to clear up but I’m so disorganised I gave up. I need a notebook for financial things but I also need to learn to throw away out of date letters and tidy up the files of stories and poems that litter the house. Ripping up stuff that I might want to refer to one day is so depressing.

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    1. I sort things out in patches, when the mood strikes. I am gradually putting all essential material on one spreadsheet. Today’s thought: it should be in a folder in the cloud,eg in Dropbox or Google Drive, with other documents, so all my children can access key information when I die. Which will happen one day, regardless of whether I’m morbid or cheerful.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have written mu obit and my wife/daughter will carry on….I will have drafts that can to posted until they run out. Pete I do not think you are being morbid just prepared…..be well chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It may sound morbid Pete but it is the practical thing to do. I am not doing it though. I am still confident we would surpass this pandemic. New life, new beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Pete, toaday I have a little bit time left to look in your blog. Since Corona has come I also thought about this theme.
    It’s a little scary, although the number of deaths is relatively small in our country. But I’m afraid that after the easing, the numbers will rise again.

    I have a notebook with my passwords, but I think I have to bring it up to date.

    I wish you and your family that you come through this crisis healthy.

    Best regards from Germany, Irene

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice to see you again, Irene. πŸ™‚
      It is a worry that the virus will not go away, at least until there is a vaccine. Easing social restrictions too soon may well see a second round of infection.
      Meanwhile, I am happy to hear that you are safe.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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          1. I also congratulate.
            Fortunately, I often get videos and photos via whatsapp.
            Felix is ​​now a little over eight months old and my sunshine. I love him so much. ❀

            Liked by 1 person

  17. Considering our mortality is all too common as we get older [if we have that privilege, of course], and in my early 60s that did concern me somewhat, to the detriment of my mental health; not so much from the point of view of leaving this mortal coil, but considering the pain & discomfort that might be involved in the process, but I been able to reach an accommodation with that, I’m glad to say. A threat like the current one, against which we might feel somewhat powerless, does tend to focus the mind quite successfully of course, so impotent worry is perfectly natural. Also, one might think that having a partner reduces the need for a systematic approach to the consequences of our passing, but I fear that isn’t necessarily the case. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having a partner just leaves someone else to have the worry of ‘tidying up’ after our death. But that does give some reassurance that certain closures will happen.
      I saw the results of many people who had died alone; undiscovered for weeks, the council clearing out all their stuff to dump it, and no idea of who to inform, if anyone. It was sad.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  18. Goodness we sorted all that out years ago Pete. Maybe it’s because we have moved country so often. We both have a complete list of all passwords we use and I have put a clause in my will re my book royalties and listed one of the children as my social media administrator to handle all that side. Rule one, make sure the surviving partner can transfer funds into their account before notifying the bank, as once an account is frozen on death it’s really hard to access money for everyday bills. The bank may be kind and lend money in the interim and then load interest for their kind gesture. We made up a complete guide for our housesitter when we were traveling this year so if both DH and I are snuffed out at the same time it should be easy to follow. Also, I’ve told the kids where the files are and with all the proper paperwork. Plus names and phone numbers of solicitors, and insurance and pension people too. I’m sure some wheels might come off, but the funeral policy will take care of what is left of us. We’re as prepared as we can be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As long as there is a death certificate, banks will usually release funds from an account, especially to pay bills. My wife has enough personal money to get past all that for some time anyway. She worked in banks for 20 years, so knows how all that works in practice.
      It’s mainly the small things that she might not know about, and that never really entered my head until the virus scare.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. So much uncertainty and I am the same, I have given my kids and my husband copies of my password for everything …just in case. But at the end of the day, think positive, Pete.

    Regards, Teresa

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is a sombre topic but necessary. Even if Coronavirus wasn’t at large it’s always worth preparing. Who knows when we are likely to meet our maker. I worry about the sheer number of bank and savings accounts my husband has. I wouldn’t know where to begin to access our money or how our bills are actually paid. 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to make an appointment to go to the bank with a death certificate, and one of the staff will guide you through all that. (My wife worked in banks for many years, and used to do exactly that for customers.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Who knows when and if we might catch the virus? We may only get mild symptoms, but anyway it’s a good idea for your wife to know all the minutiae. I have a notebook where all my passwords are recorded. Sam knows I want half my ashes scattered on the Tennyson Trail at Freshwater and half on my grandmother’s grave. As for the rest, you can teach your wife where everything is before the lock-down is lifted. The only thing I wouldn’t be able to do if Sam goes first is to cut our hedges, but there are many gardeners around here to pay.

    Liked by 2 people

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