Friday, May 03, 2013

This is my final will and testament…

Recently hubby and I have finally gotten round to start planning and organising our will. We have been doing some research and started having some initial conversations with a solicitor recommended by our insurance provider.

The solicitor sent us a checklist of things to think about before he meets us, so we can be ready to run through these key points together with him, which include:

  • Who we want as our Executors?
  • Who do wish to name as guardians for our children in the event of our death?
  • Instructions as to the disposal of your body.
  • Gifts of any specific items that you wish to make, e.g. jewellery, ornaments etc.
  • How do we wish to dispose of the bulk of your whole estate, after giving any gifts. Will it go to one person or should it be split into shares? What would happen if any of these people die before you, what will happen to their share, e.g. should it go to their children?

Writing a will is rather a depressing process. I think the most depressing bit of it all is the naming of guardianship. I choke up each time I think about it.

You know those movies about parents who die and their children go and live with a family member or close friend? Films like Raising Helen or Life As We Know It or even Harry Potter.

Before I had kids, I use to laugh along with most people over the misadventures of the new guardian who got dumped with these kids unexpectedly. But nowadays, I think more about the parents who died and the children they left behind.

The Yaus

It’s extremely painful to think about what would happen to your own children being suddenly being left alone in the world if you happen to die unexpectedly.

Sometimes on the road home from work as we head to pick up Nathan from daycare, we might pass by a car accident, or encounter a clumsy driver who swerves a little into our lane, or get cut off by a rude driver. I always gasp, clutch onto my seat, and immediately start thinking about what would happen to little Nathan if he had to wait and wait and wait for mummy and daddy to come, and who would for once never turn up at the door ever again.

Most people without children would not bat en eye over the fact that these children would naturally go under the care of another family member, close friend or guardian. I mean, what’s the big deal right? Death happens sometimes. Someone will look after them. They’ll get over it eventually.

But they will not be able to comprehend the tremendous weight and significance of the thousand little things that will be forgotten and overlooked forever…

  • Who will know how to cut his peanut butter toast into the triangles exactly the way he likes?
  • Who will know how to cut apples into the little munchable cubes perfectly-sized for his little mouth?
  • Who will know our clever rendition of “wheels on the bus/tractor/cement truck/dump truck/car-carrier-truck”?
  • Who will remember to open the window blinds at 11.45am every Friday to watch the rubbish truck go by?
  • Who will know his favourite breakfast cereal combo of Weet-Bix and Cheerios with warm milk in winter and cold milk in summer?
  • Who will remember to say grace together before each meal, thank God for each specific dish on the table and bless everyone by name in prayer?
  • Who will remember to make sure his cuddly buddies Quack-Quack, Hoot and Bao-Bao are tucked in snuggly next to him in bed every night?

There are probably a thousand other little things which each on it’s own seem small and significant, but when put altogether make sense of life as a family… the family my child knows.

So on that same same line of thinking, as sad as this true story is of a young mother who lost her little girl to cancer, this post she wrote made perfect sense in it’s own twisted and sad way…

“…Just the other day, the TV was showing a Talent Program in China. One of the contestants was a Mongolian little boy who sang beautifully… He was 10 and he lost both his parents at a tender age. He sang a song to his mommy entitled "The mommy in my dreams". At that moment, it hit me like a thousand waves… I realized all of a sudden that I am so grateful that I am the one who has lost you and not the other way around. It has never occurred to me that you could have been the ones hurting so badly instead. All this while, if there had been a way, I was so determined, so willing and more than prepared to give up my worthless life in exchange for yours. I had prayed fervently, day and night crying out to whoever was in charge of human lives: Take mine instead, please!!! Spare my child, let her live!!! That night, I saw how the little boy was in pain. That night, I remembered my own pain. There was absolutely no doubt that you could have been the one suffering such indescribable pain for the rest of your life... That night, I am oddly and truly relieved that I am the one who has lost you and that I am the one suffering instead. It is such an odd feeling…”

So folks, if you have kids, writing a will is pretty necessary… but do brace yourself for the emotional roller coaster in the process.

You must know from experience that when it comes to picking somebody else to raise your kids, no one seems right. No one is you.
– Lindsay David, Raising Helen

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