“Wait? What? I thought the point of being prepared was to avoid death!”
The one disaster that is guaranteed to happen to each and every one of us is that we will die…as will our loved ones.
Yes, that is depressing…but it is a cold, hard fact and since the probability of death is 100% I am planning and preparing for it. In fact, I am preparing for it in three different ways. First, I want to ensure that my passing will be as little of a burden, financially and logistically, on those I leave behind as possible. Second, I want to make sure that I “get right” with all the people around me. Finally, I want to make sure I am “right” with God.
1 – Finances and Logistics
I want to make sure that those I leave behind are able to focus on each other and not on funeral arrangements and the thousand bits administrivia that go with such a loss. To that end I have created a file with a statement from each of our financial accounts along with any needed login IDs and passwords. Each of my children and one of my son in laws know where this is stored and two of them know where the keys to it are. A backup copy of just the account information is kept on my desk (no passwords or IDs in that one!). To make sure my grand children have a little leg up in life we have started a savings plan for each of them and have scheduled regular deposits in their accounts. We also make additional deposits when we can. There are also life insurance policies on both myself and Wonderful Wife to help financially.
We also have some things still on our “to do” list. First and foremost is a will to make sure that our “stuff” is divided ahead of time. It is amazing how often families are torn apart fighting over silly little keepsakes after a family member passes away. Next on our list is to choose and purchase a burial plan. That way our funeral expenses will be covered. I have seen the pressure some funeral home employees can put on the survivors to purchase all sorts of elaborate and expensive stuff. Nothing sells flowers and fancy caskets like the guilt these folks can lay on folks already struggling with a loss. It’s disgusting and my family will not have to deal with it. My body will be dead and a pine box is no worse a container to bury it in than a fancy gold and silk lined casket that costs more than my car…
2 – “Getting Right” With Loved Ones
To paraphrase an old country song, will they know how much I loved them if tomorrow never comes? Never leave anything unsaid that needs to be said. Never leave anyone guessing about how you felt towards them. Period.
No one leaves the house without a hug and an I love you. Period.
Being prepared for this is the cheapest and most rewarding prep of all. That doesn’t always mean it is easy but it is simple.
3 – “Getting Right” With God
As most anyone who has read this blog knows, I am a Christian (seriously, just look at the title!). As such, I believe that the end of this mortal life is just the beginning of an eternal afterlife and that certain choices we make during our lives here on Earth determine the nature of that afterlife. We can choose to accept the gift of salvation and live eternally in His presence, or, choose permanent separation from God and godly things.
I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross in payment for my sins and, on the third day, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. He made this sacrifice for any who chose to accept it. It is presented freely as a gift, a gift of forgiveness, of Grace. I have chosen to accept the gift of Grace, the undeserved forgiveness of our sins. Although I am made perfect in His sight (made clean) I am far from perfect. That’s kind of the point. I finally realized that I couldn’t be as good as I should be or as perfect as I should be. I realized I was a sinner and, finally, accepted his Grace instead. That’s not an excuse to give up resisting temptation and sin. In fact, by accepting it I commit strive even harder to be more like Him…every…single…day.
To me, this is the ultimate and most important bit of preparedness.
Next week we will look at the next scenario we are preparing for: Retirement