There is nothing funny about death. Not now, not ever.

When my husband of many years died, a part of me died with him. Now I am struggling to live as a lesser person, diminished by his sudden death. No matter how you view it, one is less than two.

Lamp on fence

As my peers and I have catapulted into widowhood, we have shared our grief and our experiences. We did some things right, are learning how to do other things sort-of correctly, and are changing our expectations daily.

As a military family, my husband and I knew firsthand the tenuous hold we mortals have on life. We also were aware of wills, powers of attorney, and the documents necessary at the end. He had assembled a plastic bag chock full of forms for my needs. His executor used it, as the case turned out, since I was the lump in the recliner, waiting for the end of another wretched day. But she navigated the waters with grit and perseverance, and somehow banks and insurance agents were properly notified of the calamity. More forms were signed, more decisions made, and widowhood took on a life of its own.

One thing my husband and I did properly was to place money from the sale of our beloved motorhome into two certificates of deposit. One for each of us, stowed at the credit union, forgotten and untouched until funeral expenses reared their ugly head. And it made a huge difference. I highly recommend doing the same, only do it yesterday, so the amount has a chance to mature into a healthier balance.

Money is not important, but it surely is necessary. And worries about money are the last thing you want careening about your brain as you grieve.

Believe it or not, there are DIY and FYI forms for the end of life. Pay attention to these. Diligently fill in and update them as needed. You will be glad later that you did. Check now that your joint accounts are in the proper format, using “or” instead of “and” between your names. A living will, a durable power of attorney, prepaid cemetery expenses—those things you’ve heard of but put off for later—do them now. Financial advisors do not hold with these truths for their own benefit. They know how valuable preparation is for transition into murky waters.

I have never been a widow before. This is new and uncharted territory for me and not at all to my liking.

But it is now a fact and I pray for sufficient strength daily.

 


 

Next week, Dave tells us what he’d like to leave behind for the next generation.

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