Last night I did something different, something I have needed to do for a long time. Together with some of my friends I began a three-week class called “What Do I Do Now?” It’s a class that not only gives you a great deal of information about what to do when a loved one dies, it helps you organize everything you need and get it into one place.
I promised myself four years ago that I would get things together because that was when Jerry suddenly became very ill and was unable to communicate. In addition to being gravely worried about him, there were things I needed to take care of. Life doesn’t stop when someone becomes very ill or dies. There was information I needed from him about bank accounts, passwords, and ongoing business transactions. I needed to access the contents of his briefcase but I didn’t know the combination. With the help of my daughters I muddled along and happily, Jerry recovered. I wish I could tell you I followed through on my resolution, but once the crisis was past so was the urgency to get things done. This year we have been more intentional and have made inroads, but there is still much to be accomplished. So when this class became available I enrolled.
I have to tell you the first night was overwhelming. I am surprised at my reaction, because I wanted to bolt! The facilitator told us at the beginning of her lesson that last night would be the hardest. “What could be so hard,” I wondered. I’m still asking myself that question this morning. Why was my reaction so strong? This is just taking care of details.
I think it’s a combination of facing my own mortality, revisiting the possibility that I might lose my husband, all the decisions that will have to be made about what to do with my physical remains, my earthly possessions, and even my dogs. Things I guess I am still not wanting to think about. But the harsh reality is that one day Jerry and I will die. “Pass away” sounds so much nicer, but that’s just semantics. We will leave this earth behind and enter into the presence of Jesus. That’s the good news. The bad news is there will be hard things to do in the aftermath. If I go first I want to make things easier for Jerry and my girls, so it will be helpful to have things done in advance. And if he goes first I want to make things easier for me, so having everything in one notebook will help.
This year I am doing a Bible study of the book of Daniel. Instead of approaching the book from a prophetic standpoint, our study is focusing on the sovereignty of God. “God is in control,’ is our overarching theme. So in my lesson this morning I was challenged to consider areas of my life that make me anxious, and write a Bible truth that corresponds to the situation. I didn’t have to think too long. My notebook from last night was sitting on my desk in plain view. The verse I wrote is one of my favorites, Isaiah 41:10:
I might need to tattoo that verse on my right hand. (Don’t worry kids, I won’t!) God’s promise brings my anxiety level way down. It is wise to be prepared, but ultimately God is in control. He knows the road ahead of me, and He will walk it with me.