im mortal, part 1

Since Thanksgiving weekend, I have had an illness, a complication, a hospitalization, a mis-diagnosis, a procedure, a retraction, and a recovery, all totaling 5 weeks to-date. I, who consider myself self-contained and self-sufficient, formidable even, had to admit that 3 non-stop weeks of intense sickness spooked me.   

As I laid feverish in my bed on the 8th or 9th day with a new glass-crushing burning sensation in my chest (immediately prior to seeking urgent/ER care), I asked the universe to let me k now whether this is IT…the big IT…and if it is…could I swing a few extra days until I make sure my plans and wishes for the kids to finish being raised where I want them to finish being raised is hurriedly notarized?

As it turns out, the illness can be life threatening, but wasn’t. This time.  But I take the lesson well.  I’m 47 and I’m not immortal.  Or even superhuman.  There’s proof now.  I was almost convinced, having never (knock on wood) been in a wreck, had a broken bone, or had any injury more serious than a pulled muscle.  I’ve never even been in a fight, for god’s sake. 

In my charmingly smartass way, I am often caught saying, “All I have to do is get the girls to age 18…then all bets are off.”  So, 4 more years. 

Or less if I lose the bet; making the goal of my remaining recovery time to get a Will in place. 

Frankly, my kids are all that matters.  My material possessions are not worth cataloguing, let alone bequeathing.  Anybody can have what anybody wants, and the rest can be tossed, since I have never put much stock in ‘stuff’.  (The buddhist in me believes you can’t ‘love’ inanimate objects.)  The most important things I have are those that evoke memories – pictures, mementos from traveling that won’t hold significance for anybody else.  Oh! and the cats. 

There’s really only a couple of people whom I would consider to finish raising my children, really. (And it isn’t their dad…hence a specific will.)  Should we, can we require that our substitutes, if called into action, raise their new wards identically to our goals?  I once had a friend ask me to be guardian of her son if she died.  Yes, of course I would.  But will I also uproot my own family to move into her house in LA to make sure he can continue his life without any interruptions?  Uh, NO.  Will I choose his stability over my stability?  Uh, No.  Would I love him as if he were my own and make sure he got a good education with the same opportunities for the future?  Absolutely.    She chose someone else.

I find that I must stare directly into myself, then outside my self, to truly imagine the future without me.  What do I think I should have done by now?  And what can I ask others to finish for me?  Where do I go from here?

 Interesting exercise, I think. 



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