“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
However, at least you can see the taxman cometh.
He cometh every year at the exact same time and if you’re lucky he giveth you some of your hard-won money back.
The Reaper cares not for Outlook Calendars.
He works to his own ineffable timetable.
He may send a meeting request with a time guideline and then cancel it with no warning just as you were browsing caskets on Amazon, or he might just pop in with no warning whatsoever when you’ve just spent 30k on getting a flatlet ready for your father-in-law to move into at your house.
My father-in-law passed away last week at the age of 82.
He waved goodbye with a wink and a “Don’t do anything I would do.”
The Reaper arrived quietly and gently helped him shrug off his mortal coil, handed him over to St Peter who promptly handed him off to my mother-in-law of whom the dear Saint is slightly afraid of. It takes a special lady to make an archangel tremble in fear, but there you go.
And while all this was taking place in heavenly peace, all hell was breaking loose on the mortal plane.
What do you do when someone dies at home?
Hint. You don’t call Ghostbusters yet. That has to wait a while.
We called Doves Funeral Parlour (a friend of mine once got fired from there, but that’s a totally different story). Two wonderful men arrived in morning coats and gloves. They made what could have been a rather traumatic and morbid situation into one that was dignified and respectful.
And then they left and we didn’t know quite what to do.
Various cultures have different ways of dealing with death and grief. Anglo-Saxons tend to revert to busywork. We need to plan things and do stuff and be useful. So, when we can’t find or invent something to do, we tend to feel a little useless.
The fact is that there is very little you can do in the days immediately following death. Except for self-recrimination, guilt and a lot of could-haves and should-haves. And that’s okay.
The immensity of dealing with estates, houses, bills and accumulated knick-knacks soon lands like an immense Albatross.
My advice for surviving life after death…
If you love someone, do not make them the executor of your will.
Make the bank, your lawyer or financial advisor do the honours. They’re not emotionally invested or grieving and because of that, infinitely better than you at doing what is a very painful and exhausting task.
Make a list of all your investments, assets, accounts and social media passwords.
You’re going to die at some yet undetermined time, so at least make it easier on those left behind to clear your browser history.