Being the world’s laziest people when it comes to moving, before we left for Europe, in order to justify hiring packers and movers, I decided to work an extra few days before I quit my job to cover the cost. Genius!
Let me tell you: Worth. Every. Penny.
While I definitely felt like an asshole watching four men give it their all to pack up and haul our entire life into a storage unit for four months so we could go travel the world (all while sipping a Starbucks latte), I would rather spend the cash than try to move myself ever again. I’ve been ruined!
But unfortunately, you can’t outsource all the other ugly parts of moving. When you decide to take a literal TIME OUT from everything, you have to do a bunch of crap to make sure you don’t also take a time out from being a responsible human. So things like taxes, and health insurance, and wills become sort of important.
So one of the weirder conversations I had with my then six-month-in husband was what to do in the case of either of our deaths so that we could put it on paper should the worst things ever happen. How do you decide who gets what? Who gets stuck with the job of actually tying up the assets? Does your Mom really want to be the one to pull the plug? No; only if you want to be hooked to a machine for all time. Thanks, Dad. I always knew I could count on you.
And while all of these questions are horrible in nature, it’s really important when you consider how you want to love people well if you’re suddenly gone. One thing the law office that counseled us through this process encouraged us to do was to write an addendum if you want to leave something to someone in particular. So while it feels yucky and morbid, I may or may not have written that in the event of my death that I would like Dan to gift my wedding pearls to his second wife. He was having none of it, but I was imagining the gaping love hole in his life should I no longer walk with the living and I wanted a memento of my approval of him moving on hanging visibly around her neck so at their wedding, everyone could remember how gracious and selfless I was. And if they don’t go well with her dress, then we’ll just have to see how this haunting thing works…I’m sure Jesus would understand…
As it turns out, I’ve watched both of my grandmothers going through this process in the past few years. From what I can tell, I think older people like to prepare well for when they’re gone. I think legacies are important to everyone.
As a token for actually visiting my grandparents in Michigan, my Grandma Barb (on the left) had me try on all her jewelry and gave me first dibs on my favorite piece; I chose an awesome ruby ring that I will definitely rock on the regular when the time comes. My Grandma Mary, right before she moved in with my parents last year, wrapped up a bunch of her favorite keepsakes they wouldn’t let her take in the cross-country move and did a cousins “grab bag” at Thanksgiving where I made out like a bandit with two silver candlesticks I now have to figure out how to polish. She also dumped a couple of rolls of quarters on the floor for the younger children to fight over like some sort of twisted piñata situation, so it’s probably time for her to get her things in order anyway! I mean, my six-year-old cousin Charlie walked away with over five dollars! Thank God we have graduated to an in-unit washer/dryer or I would have been on the ground getting scrappy for those coveted coins!
But being only 30, it’s not that easy to decide what to leave. Does my sister, Amy, want my collection of Lululemon yoga pants? Don’t remind me, she’s a size smaller than me. Does my Mother want to read through all the letters I’ve kept from my old boyfriends? They are some gems in that box! Do my friends want a bunch of half-used nail polishes? My collection is quite impressive…
So given that my worldly possessions don’t amount to much worth saving (you’re burying me with this beautiful wedding ring, Dan!), I think in my addendum, I’m going to leave the only real gift I have to give: the gift of love and faith.
Everyone knows that my one of my favorite love languages is writing all of the feelings on paper for those I love to read; I’m pretty sure most close friends and family members have received a number of these “letters” throughout the years. I’m pretty sure more than one of them has put one in a frame. I mean my “Fifty Reasons I Love My Dad” list to honor his hitting the half-century mark was both clever, touching, and clearly the best gift he received that year (hey, times were tough when he hit that milestone and girl’s gotta eat!).
So since the sum total of my worldly possessions is a bit meager for putting in a will, my hope is to spend some time putting my thoughts into words for the people that mean the most to me. (Mental note: I seriously need to stop procrastinating on actually doing this…worst case, reference this blog post, people!) And I will tell them that I love them. And why they’re worth it. And Who loves them even more than me and how He gives all of the peace and hope.
Because if they’re reading those notes, I will be more than okay. I’ll be with Jesus. And I will have everything. I mean, what else is there to give?
Has anyone else had to go through this process?? What did it look like for you?
p.s. Confession: I am trying to fight my superstition on posting about such a morbid topic. But as one of my Mom’s kindergartners recently reminded her, “Mrs. Bray, I don’t believe in superstition. I am a Christian.” Plus, it’s been over a year since I got this death threat served to me in a fortune cookie and I lived to tell about it…