My Dad recently handed me his “Kicked The Bucket List.”
A maudlin sheet of paper on which he clearly laid out whom he wishes me to contact, in the event he kicks the proverbial bucket.
He has also clearly laid out where all the bodies are buried.
And by that I mean all the bank accounts, investments, etc.
A very thoughtful list.
A much appreciated list.
Albeit as morbid as it seems, it is a list that I think everyone should make.
Because in the throes of grief, when one is mourning the loss of anyone, be it parent, grandparent, spouse, child, friend, or distant relative, one of the last things anyone should have to worry about is who to contact, and where all the “stuff” is.
Important “stuff”, like what bank accounts need to be cancelled, what pensions need to be notified, what other arrangements need to be made.
My Dad has also very considerately pre-paid all of his funerary arrangements, and has even purchased a lovely plot.
In fact, we visit that plot every year, he and I.
It is a pilgrimage of sorts.
He cleans and maintains the markers that are there, a bronze plaque that clearly describes the family pedigree.
The plot sits beside a bridge, which leads to a little island in a man-made pond.
There is a towering oak tree near his plot, which has grown from an acorn he brought over from England in the 1970’s.
Each year when he cleans and maintains his plot, I make my way over to the island and enjoy the view.
There are frogs in the pond, and some geese too.
I believe it is what they call a “scattering” pond, where the ashes of a loved one can be dispersed.
But I prefer not to think about that, what with the geese and frogs and all.
The last time we went, my Dad brought along the cremated remains of his cat and sprinkled them over his gravesite.
I thought that was particularly touching.
My Dad also decided a few years ago that he would be cremated.
Well into his 80’s, I know he is in tune with his own mortality.
I don’t know what it would be like, waking up every day, late in life, wondering if that day will be your last.
Looking back on, hopefully, a life that was well lived, with no regrets.
It is a terrible subject, death.
But everything dies.
It’s a terrible truth.
It is a part of life.
It is the end of our lives.
And so, after we get all of our affairs in order, lay out our own “Kicked The Bucket Lists,” I say it’s important to get on with what we deem is a good life.
Because it can expire in an instant.
We should try to have no regrets.
And I have always maintained we always regret what we don’t do.
Always live each and every day with gratitude.
An appreciation for what the day has brought, and will bring.
For sunshine, for safe passage, for each and every person, place or thing that has been a part of our day and made it beautiful.
Because, in the event of death…