One of the items on my “To-Do” list was to make a will. After various other tasks that needed to be done this summer and beginning of the school year, I finally made one this past Sunday, while Daniel was napping. I used NOLO’s Online Will, and it only took me about an hour to do.
NOLO asked me a series of questions, mostly about property allocation and guardianship of Daniel, and I just filled in the blanks. While I did this, I became very aware of what life would be like without me — who would get what, who would take care of whom. I felt oddly at peace, writing my will, knowing that the Hubby and Daniel would be taken care of, knowing that they would not have to deal with any financial liabilities, dogging their bequests.
I felt very much in the present, planning out this future without me in it. Is that weird? It was almost as if I knew I was going to die soon, but I had the luxury to get my life in order. Paying off long-term debts, getting two life insurance policies (one term for Daniel, one whole for the Hubby), and then writing my will: at times, I wondered aloud, “How old am I, again?”
On the bookshelf in my office is Randy Pausch’s book, The Last Lecture. In the prime of his life — happy family life, awesome job, looking and feeling great — he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Over a year ago, last summer, he died, at age 47.
I’m 37, only ten years younger than Randy was. Ever since Daniel was born, I have become keenly aware of human mortality — some dying at the prime of their life; some before they’ve even had a chance to live; some after a long, fruitful span and yet wishing for more time. Once upon a time, this used to make me very sad — depressed even.
Now I realize my mortality is what makes everything in this life worth it. And so if I want to make a difference in this life — for, just like Randy, genetics and environmental damage may call my number and strike me with a terminal illness at any time — I must do it NOW… in order to prepare a future for the people I care about.
A future — someday — without me in it.