I'm in a support group of old lesbians who meet every other week to talk about issues around death and dying. One of the issues we've discussed is taking care of all the business around our own death in a timely fashion (like as soon as possible), so that it will be easier for our survivors to know our wishes and be able to... well, tie up all the loose ends. Even if you do have a will, it doesn't necessarily have a record of your passwords or the people who should be notified if you, for any reason, happen to leave the planet. Things like that.
Of course, it is so much easier to TALK about things like that than to actually DO things like that. So we all committed to doing SOMETHING before we met again.
One dyke said that she had gone through her address book -- yes, an old-fashioned paper address book -- and marked every person who should be notified when she died. I thought, "Well, that's an easy thing to do, and I happen to have a paper address book too!"
So I got out my most current address book, and put a big green dot next to the name of everyone who should be notified. Now, some people are obvious choices, but then there is the next ring of people. Do they really need to know? Will they be upset if they just hear about it later?
I will never get over not knowing Myrna in New York was dying. Whenever I was in New York, I spent a lot of time with Myrna. I visited her twice in her condo in Miami Beach, for a week each time. But we never kept in touch when I was in San Francisco. I certainly would have gone to visit her if I'd known she was deathly ill. But nobody even notified me when she died! I just found out in a casual way long after she was gone. I can't get over it.
On Day of the Dead last year, I made an ofrenda and did a ritual for Myrna. But I still can't get over it.
This is a photo I took of Myrna Danzig during our visit to the Coral Castle in Florida, one of the weirder tourist attractions in a state full of weird places to visit. I think we can all agree that when you have seen the Coral Castle with someone, you are entitled to be informed when that person has died! Am I right? When you're right, you're right! Unless of course you've had a big falling-out. But Myrna and I never had a falling-out.
I had no idea when I started this blog that I would get waylaid by Myrna. But the takeaway is:
Better to err
on the side of informing
too many people that you died
rather than too few.
So I went through my address book and put a green dot next to the name of everyone who should be notified. But now that I think about Myrna, I'm going to go back and put in a few more green dots.
ANYHOW, then I wrote on the first page of my address book. next to a green dot, "People who should be notified if I die." (See photo above.)
And the next time I looked at that page, I just had to laugh. After 15 years of practicing Buddhism, I write "IF"?!?
There's no "if" about it!
My dear Bloggelinis, I must inform you that even the lifespan of a Blogmistress has its limit.
I have been studying the Tibetan Buddhist slogans for almost two years. And before you even start on the slogans, you have to study The Four Preliminaries:
The rarity and preciousness of human life
The absolute inevitability of death
The awesome power of our actions
The inescapability of suffering.
Or, as I've condensed and personalized it:
I will die.
I have power.
So it's "Not IF but WHEN!" And the title page of my address book reflects that!
And now it's on to making sure my survivors can easily find a list of all my passwords!
Dear Bloggelinis: Despite the ministrations of three chiropractors, two acupuncturists, a massage therapist and a physical therapist, I'm still in pain. I don't find fault with these holistic practitioners. I think I'm a hard case. I'm now taking the drug I despised in my earlier blog (gabapentin) and hoping for some pain relief. I had an MRI -- finally! Had to demand it, and was motivated to get tough by several of your emails. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm now refered to Kaiser Spine Center and will see another acupuncturist next week. I'm of good cheer because... well, I don't think bad cheer would be helpful.
I'M STILL OPEN FOR VISITORS! Celenia responded to my invitation and schlepped all the way from Martinez (I think) and we had a lovely time. As the garden progresses through Spring, it gets more beautiful. Terry