I have written before about how my parents died when I was young (my grandmother died in a fire on a Saturday. The following Tuesday my father had a stroke in the car on the way back from her funeral and went off the road. He died soon after and my mother died three months later), and left me without a legal guardian. I became a ward of the state until I was 21. Later, I was involved in the terror attack in Stockholm and realised that I did not have a will or any next of kin, my affairs were not in order, and no one knew how to contact my South African family in case anything happened to me. No one would even know that my cats were alone at home and needed feeding. No one would miss me.
Since then I have sorted, decluttered (several times), written a will, and made sure people know of my wishes, and where all my paperwork is. It is something that no one really wants to think about or prepare for, but I am living proof that life can take sudden turns you are not expecting. In my case, I have no close blood relatives, so I have to specify my wishes very clearly – particularly before I was married.
I recently found this beautiful notebook. The photograph on the cover is so evocative for me. It is peaceful and so beautiful. I am not religious or particularly spiritual but I hope this is what death is like. I think this is the most beautiful photo I have ever seen. I grew up by the ocean and beach and it has always given me peace
Inside this book I have started to write
- contact details of people who need to know if something happens to me (family, Irish embassy, South African embassy)
- my wishes for my funeral (I want it to be happy with people in casual clothes and my favourite music)
- notes for my nearest and dearest
- passwords and account numbers that people need to know
- things I would like destroyed (journals for example)
- who I would like to get which small things (more detailed than my will)
As I said, it is not something anyone wants to deal with, but life has shown me that things can change in an instant. I don’t want my loved ones to have stress or worry. I want them to know I love them. Doing small things in this book gives me peace.