Thursday, 24 February 2011

Last Will & Testament
Friday nights reserved for basking in the glow. The evening's Body Balance class and circled TV listings providing my saintly hue. The light from within and without animating my frame. That's as far as sainthood goes. Flies on the wall could confess I argue with the screen. Not backwards in coming forwards in voicing my concerns, addressing those depicted as if they were present in the room. Vocals rising, ready for a fight. This latest disagreement brought about by BBC2's Can't Take It With You. A real-life series following sets of couples with their demise in mind. The dilemma: who should get what and why. A fascinating process of debate ensues, friends and relatives included. Options laid out and fears stripped bare to reach an understanding. A post-decease statement to satisfy both parties.

What's my problem with this? Nothing, but the taboo. Surprised by people's reactions to the end of life, confronting this alive. Death, a subject brushed aside. Not a topic for the living. Me, I feel the opposite. Death is not taboo. Never shying away from it, not understanding those that do. What is there to dread? My belief grounded in the knowledge that with life comes death. Others revering death in spite, condemning animals to it every day. Beings who have no time to make that journey to acceptance.

Dying not the issue here, but the family estate. Who deserves to benefit from property and funds? Entitled to an equal share? Complicated preferences require thrashing out. One partner not necessarily submitting to the other. This, the expectation when parting with your portion. Couples now divided. Who's right? What's best? Does it really matter? Why can't all be divvied up, to do what each desires? Leave it to children, aunts and uncles, or a charity for cats. Who are we to decide what is valuable to others? Coupled up, my answer would be this: “Half of mine is not always yours. I need to do as I see fit.” Then there's inequality, a hot topic for recipients. A dinner planned to bring their differences to the fore. Words chosen carefully avoiding a dispute. I've invested time, money, energy in this family or business the overriding theme. Single me out or not at all. Make the right decision. Fairness, this big society's scheme.

Time for talking over, instructions can be given. A pen provided to supply your signature on the dotted line. Discussion of death important to make your wishes known. Unfair to leave animosity behind or confusion about what to do. My proposal drafted, expressing my requests beyond the grave. How I want my funeral to what to do with my effects. There's no morbidity in these thoughts, but a practical view of life. Why burden anyone else to make this choice when I'm perfectly capable now? There can be dignity in dying and relinquishing your claims. For in this final analysis, the act of dying to yourself, "It's between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway."