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  • Writer's pictureJaye Gaff

How do you prepare for your existence to end?

I am due for surgery and since I got the date, actually, scratch that, before I got the date I started to ponder my life and how utterly unprepared I am to die. Which sounds ridiculous, I know. It's a simple surgery. I'm not going to die. I am not allowed to die, my Husband says.

But I'm 34, surely I should be more prepared to no longer exist, you know, just in case?

As Husband and I started to drive to the hospital for the here's-your-surgery-date-appointment I began to think of how I need to get my act together but, also, how much I don't want to. I could die tomorrow and my family would be left to live a life without me. Why shouldn't we start preparing for it just in case?

Here's what I've come up with so far:

  1. Get my will signed.

  2. Actually, update my will and then get it signed.

  3. Let my best friend know I'm having surgery so she doesn't get mad at me like she did when she found out I had COVID after the fact.

  4. Start telling Husband how to be the best Chicken to Bailey he can be.

And when I start to think of all those little minuscule things I do on the daily I start to stress. Nobody can ever replace me, I know that. But if I were to die unexpectedly I'd want B's life to continue as seamlessly as possible.

So you tell the Husband things: turn the light on at her stairs as it starts to get dark, close her study door if the aircon on is when she's at school so she comes home to a nice cool room. Parent the person she is that day -- not the person she was or the person you want her to be. Allow space for mistakes. Let her know she has a safe space to go when she messes up. Consequences can always come later if need be. Always say yes if there's no dire reason to say the opposite. Stop what you're doing and give her what she needs in that moment -- those moments don't last forever. Be sarcastic with her. Call her out on her bullshit in a fun way. Teach her to love herself in all those perfectly flawed ways. Random dance parties are necessary when you're happy, celebrating, sad or mad. Dance with her.

But how do you ever, really, prepare for no longer existing? You can write the will and stipulate who gets what. You can write lists and letters to open on birthdays but the idea of not being there stops me from following through every time.

My Husband gets all my money. B. gets all my shit. Funerals are boring and I don't want one. Burn me. Stick me in a pot (I quite like the idea of a blue and white china one). Just text the good people I died. Watch Golden Girls if you start to miss me.

But, the looming question still remains - when do you start planning for your death? Is it too morbid to do a little bit week by week for the just in case...?

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