Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Recycling Out....

Okay. I admit it. Today I've been hooked on Court TV, watching the probate hearing on Anna Nicole's estate. This stuff can be addictive and I sat here for quite a while, listening to lawyers haggle about the disposition of ANS's body and who will make the ultimate decision about her final resting place.

While sitting here, I thought about how difficult it would be to speak for another person or to anticipate what another person might want or need, especially if he or she is not around to speak for him- or herself. I will certainly follow anyone's directions but trying to guess? No!

But ultimately someone has to decide.

Things can be interpreted so differently ~ and if suddenly silenced by death or incapacitation, friends or family left behind would have a very hard time making those decisions.

In my own case, I have a DNR (Do Not Resusitate) order attached to my medical records and a living will. Since I do not have specific heirs and frankly couldn't care less what happens to my "stuff" after I'm gone, it seemed very odd to consider another person to make all those choices in my absence. The person I chose has been a friend for many years and I have no doubt that she would make the right choices, that she would assure that my passing would be treated with simple dignity and that she would be put her knowledge of me and my value system ahead of her own desires or her own convenience. If she did change something, it would be for a darned good reason.

The fact that I want to leave this earth in Khon Kaen is certainly well-known to everyone who knows me. I'd like to recycle out of here the same way I came in... by natural process. However, I might not be able to make that choice because certain medical conditions to which I am prone could result in sudden death.

What will happen is simple. My friend will take my ashes to Thailand and spread them in a particular area I've designated. No fanfare. No difficulty. Aside from a week out of her life to take a trip to Thailand, I can't see any possible negative impact on her life. A small life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary will pay for the trip and her expenses.

I believe the last thing any of us would want is a circus after we've passed to the Other Side. Whether it's Anna Nicole Smith or someone with only a small percentage of her resources, the emotional and spiritual toll on those left behind would be incalculable. The best way to prevent it is to leave something in writing, simply notarized, appointing one or two people to speak on our behalf.




Anvilcloud said...

Yes, I too am content with an unofficial spreading of the ashes. But those who are left behind are free to dispose of me as they will.

Bob said...

it is amazing how many people die intestate, or haven't discussed their wishes with their relatives or significant other.

MsLittlePea said...

That sounds like a very peacful way to leave this world. I was forced to think about that kind of stuff, myself, a few months ago. It's not an easy thing to talk or think about.

Somehow-I missed your post yesterday and it had me thinking about the negativity that I've been attracting myself-thank you for that.

KC said...

I agree it's so important to designate decison-makers for you, and to let your wishes be known. But, despite having a clear DNR in your records, your decision-maker does not have to follow them. Sometimes, out of guilt or fear or whatever reason, they don't feel able to follow through with a DNR. So, it's important to designate someone who really knows and respects what you would want to have done. I've seen a lot of reversed decisions with possibly a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Citymouse said...

1-- love the art
2-- I should get something together, but I havent yet.
http://sweetmeander.blogspot.com/ just did a post about what music you want at your funeral-- I want an Irish wake, talk to me while I am sill alive and maybe when Im gone it wont be so hard to let go

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You are right about the need for a will and for something official that makes ones wishes known. I have never done so, although I have told my husband what I want.

Sadly, although he is considerably younger than I, he has early Alzheimer's Dementia. At this point, only his short-term memory is afflicted, but the future is uncertain and I cannot count on him to remember what I want done with my remains.

I am probably in denial as well in that I have done nothing about this. Thank you for the prodding this post has given me to take care of business.

Anna Nicole Smith's bizarre situation should convince everyone to do so, even though most of us do not have the kind of wealth she leaves behind. The idea of a body decomposing while survivors fight over it is utterly horrifying, and no matter how she lived her life, we all deserve more dignity in death.