So far 2018 has been all about death, so my first post of the year is a sad one. Not for my old friend who is now out of pain and at peace, but for all of us left behind.

I’m really going to miss her. She was a big presence, always straight speaking (sometimes more than I wanted her to be), a lover of life and determined to plough her own furrow. The Quakers would say it was ‘right ordering’. She was a good age and although ill, she made her own choices, letting go of treatment to focus on draining the last drops out of the life that was left to her. And it worked. She had a brilliant time over the last three years, so left with no regrets.

Time to get organised

Spending time with her over these past weeks has been illuminating. Inevitably it sets me thinking about my death and how I want to manage it. We’ve started the process and the Lasting Power of Attorney is set up so the kids can take decisions and spend our money when they need to. But we still have the detailed instructions to work out and write down. It’s not an easy one to face, so of course we put it off – ‘after Christmas’ we both agreed. And now it’s here and now it’s time.

Somehow it feels easier with first hand experience right in front of me. This isn’t my first close death, but it is the most conscious and thought through and because of that, the least strain on relatives. When my parents died, no decisions had been communicated about care, resuscitation, funerals, etc, so there was a lot of soul searching about what we thought was best and what they would have wanted. It’s manageable, but tough when you’re already upset and grieving.

It’s my job to make the choices

I don’t want my girls having to make those decisions – that’s my job. I need to choose now and take them off the hook. So I’m on a mission to get it all sorted out. We have the safe box all ready to withstand fire and flood. Now we just have to fill it with the significant papers, get our wills redone, complete our living will forms  write those gut wrenching letters to the kids. January is the month and I want the box locked up before the 31st.

Because having tied up my dying as much as I can, it’s going to be full throttle on living. If this friend taught me anything is that life is short so I need to get on with it. An approach that is fully backed up by my other ‘age’ role model who is rocking her care home!

So farewell my darling friend

Thanks for all the fun and the challenge. The bottomless Earl Grey pot and the natters. The Sunday morning phone calls to check in on adventures and what country is next. And the endless loyalty over 45 years, which includes coming to meet me when my day finally arrives. See you then. In the meantime, safe journey to whatever happens next.

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