Do Me A Favor?

“Lease,” said my parents, or my older siblings, “would you do me a favor?”

Mostly I did it, whatever “it” was.  Or my brother, Fred, did it.  We were the youngest, and were the runners, who went to get a Coke, or a pretzel, or a snack for our older family members. Even now, we’re still doing favors.

But there was one “favor” that none of my siblings did for Fred and me.  But they should have.

You know if you’ve been reading my blogs, that my eldest brother Bob recently died.  He didn’t do this favor for me.  Neither did my sister Beth, who died in 2009.  Nor did Judy, who kicked the bucket unexpectedly in 2000.  Nobody knows when they’re going.




My brother Bob died without a will.  Actually, he DID have a will, and a Power of Attorney — we found that he’d bought forms to be filled out, but they were still in the shrink-wrap.  I wanted to kill him. Without letting anybody know IN WRITING, what he wanted done with what, it was all guesswork.

Yes, when he was deathly ill, I had to trust my wonky memory of random conversations of what he would want.  I hope I remembered correctly, given that he died and I can’t change any of those decisions.  What did he want done regarding “heroic” measures by the doctors? What should we  do with his remains — burial? cremating?  And then what to do with those remains …

Did we do what he’d want?  I hope so.  We certainly tried.

Do yourself and your family members a favor.  Or maybe a few favors:

  • Make a will, even a simple one.  Let someone know where you keep it!
  • Do a living will, so that your wishes will be followed — and make sure family members know where it is.
  • Talk about what you want to do with your remains.  Burial?  Where? Cremation?  Where do you want those ashes to end up?

We took Bob to see one last sunset, before releasing him into the Gulf of Mexico.  I hope he is happy and resting in peace.

Bob in Adirondack chairs


Filed under 2018, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, Brothers, Clusterfuck, Curses!, Death, Family, Health, Holy Shit, I Can't Get No, Illness, Just Do It and I'll Shut Up!, Living Will, Make a Will

43 responses to “Do Me A Favor?

  1. It really is so important and can take enormous pressure of the survivors. Seriously. Is mourning not a big enough responsibility at this time. I refer to 2007 as the year of dying. I lost 11 family members throughout that year and spent most of my time negotiating and traversing the legal system and family members. It was hell.


  2. Amen. Because it’s those who are left–and grieving–who have to handle whatever you’ve left behind, in good shape or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry to read about your brother. But your advice is so right on. Did you know that Aretha Franklin didn’t have a will? Huh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Elinor. I hope you’re prepared for Florence — I’ve been thinking of you.

      And I did know Aretha had no will. Folks just don’t believe they’re mortal. But oh boy, they are.

      Liked by 1 person


    I’ve been aware of the problem for a long time. We have wills and a family trust and the kids know about them.

    I had an aunt, intestate, who got dementia. She gave most of her life savings to an itinerant minister and gave away the family farm (my mother’s side) to a farmer-tenant.

    I heard yesterday that Aretha Franklin died intestate. What a mess that must be!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Anybody with kids who doesn’t have a will, IMHO, foolish. So you and I are obviously smarter than the average bear.

      Oh, the story of your aunt is so sad. And the people who prey on these patients are monsters.

      Aretha had no will?!?! Oh that will be a mess. At least with my brother it will be relatively simple. Just two siblings 😢

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Personal experience from an email sent to me by my old friend, Steve:

    My wife died without a will. She, like your brother, had uncompleted forms. She did pay for her cremation prior to our marriage but the only thing she left behind was a short list on a mini legal pad (unsigned). She always meant to but by that time she was chronically ill (heart, kidney, knee and back patient) with many trips via ambulance to the hospital over the last 12 years of her life. Had she signed and dated her list, that would have been enough in MN but sadly she did not so the settling of her estate was both expensive and stressful. I believe in her mind, such an act was surrender. The time to do a will is when you are well.


  6. Great advice. We had our first will in our late 20s after we bought our first house. It’s revised, and is probably due for another revision.

    I recall occasionally getting an envelop from my dad that we his notes for when we died. I put it in a file, then replaced it when the next version came. When I got the news he died, the first thing I did was to get out that paper. He had hymns, church requests, life insurance policy information, copy of the will, bank and investment information, location of safety deposit box, etc … and it served as a checklist of work to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always say that I am not afraid to die, just afraid of anyone going through all my shit when I’m gone. I have a will (which probably needs updating) but no living will. I don’t know why I don’t. As for what to do with me after I have left this mortal plane, I want to be scattered over wherever Twitler happens to be standing (do not cremate me first!). Seriously though, I have told my son and my sister and anyone else who wanted to listen that I don’t care what happens to my body. Whatever it is can’t be worse than what the last 10-20 years have done to it. Seriously though (again), I really don’t care if I am cremated, buried or stuck on the side of a road in a ditch to be covered my mud as the big trucks go by, with my Discover card in my hand for identification (it’s pink and pretty and would add a pop of color). I would honestly rather leave it up to my son. I know my sister wants me to be buried (not sure if she meant after I die or right now), so she can visit me (she’ll come a couple of times and never show up again). My son never says anything, but I think he would prefer me to be cremated (even though he never vacuums). He’s coming down in October. He’s my closest relation, so what he says would go, so I guess I’ll ask him so he is not doubting himself when the time comes. In the meantime, he is the beneficiary on my bank accounts. I don’t know what else I have of value except for my dwelling, and that’s left to him in my will. The only good thing about being poor is that you don’t have a lot of expensive stuff to worry about getting rid of.

    P.S. You did your absolute best for Bob. I think he would be very proud of you. Hugs, my blog sistah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A will just make it easier and cheaper and faster. Probate will take months, meanwhile Bob’s house, already a wreck, can’t be sold, and his car can’t be donated. It’s a pain in the butt.

      As to the remains, I’m hoping they give the good bits to folks who need them.


  8. Sadly it’s such a taboo topic. My 88 year old brother and his wife JUST DID a will. I am co-executor along with their out of state son. Although they told me about it, I have no idea where it is, no copy nor do I know who their attorney is. Hoping their son has this info. I think I was included to do legwork locally if there is stuff to dispose of.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s a difficult subject to talk about, which is why things often go unsaid. My husband’s niece who works for Hospice had a great idea. She had a cocktail/ advanced directive party. No one was dying, or even sick…. and she had living will paperwork along with estate planning info right next to the bar. Take the morbidity out of it and treat it just like you would setting up a college fund for your kids. It’s important.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Deb

    I have everything but the will at this point, although all 3 kids have known for years exactly what I would like done when I’m gone and financially everything gets split between them equally, it should be in writing. My sister and I had to deal with the other scenario when my mother died. We had old neighbors and their family members (who were then realtors) claiming that mom had promised them the opportunity to sell her house… plus all the probate stuff- it was ridiculous.
    I’m sure your choice of send off for Bob was exactly the right thing Elyse. It sounds lovely.


    • Thanks, Deb. We did our best, and it really was lovely (in spite of the horrible red tide on the west coast of Florida).

      Probate appears to be a pain in the butt; I wish Bob had had a will as it would have made everything much easier. THAT’s why they’re necessary! So get going for those three kids!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Can I make a suggestion? Add a Twitter button to your posts. I’ll copy the URL in and tweet this (it’s well worth passing on), but it’s easier if there’s a button.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just got to my computer and tried to follow your suggestion, but couldn’t! It would let me add my Twitter account (which I don’t have), but not just add a Twitter button. I asked for help from WP so you never know!

      It’s an excellent suggestion, though. And thanks for passing on the post the hard way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t tweet most posts, but it’s a post I wanted to share. Good luck with the button. I once tried to add–oh, I don’t remember. Some button that seemed important. I found six different sets of instructions on how to do it and failed with them all. Best of luck.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Wills and death are taboo for many people, No one wants to deal with their own mortality. I went to hell and back because my husband had a will but had not signed it. But that was a plus for me because the will that was a dud left me virtually nothing. I went to an attorney, had to go to court to get legal power as administrator of our property. It took almost 2 years of fear and anxiety to get my rightful share of 47 years of marriage that I had pumped money into- paying for our home and upkeep and all aspects of providing my one half share into the marriage, I worked for 35 years as a registered nurse so my monetary input was significant. My step daughter tried to become admin, plus she and her bro wanted my home that I had helped pay for. After a death one learns who the evil people really are. The attorney cost me 50K but it was worth every penny. My step kids and their two half sibs (my two kids by my one and only husband) got good money. Everybody for the past 4 years has been on friendly and amicable terms. The kids all love each other so it has worked out My husband died eight years ago. He was in hospice for 3 months and that was pure hell, I nearly had a breakdown from the stress or caring for him most of the time. This is long but I just had to put in my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Do Me A Favor? — FiftyFourandAHalf | KingMidget's Ramblings

  14. Couldn’t agree more. It’s something that is actually pretty simple to do, but most people simply don’t want to think about it, I guess. Once my kids were born, we did our wills, primarily to ensure our directions for care of our kids were in writing and known. I offered to write similar wills for so many of our friends who were also having kids. I talked about how important it was to do that for their kids if something were to happen to both parents and so many of our friends didn’t take me up on my offer for free wills. We still have wills, but there are other things I need to do and I keep putting it off. Because that’s what we do with things like this … put it off because, you know, it’s not going to happen today or tomorrow. Right?

    The biggest thing I want to put in writing is what I want done with my ashes. I want some spread along the American River, some spread at a mountain lake, and some spread at the ocean. I have spots in mind for each. And I want my wife to handle one, my kids to handle another, and a couple of friends to handle the third. There I just wrote it down. So, why can’t I type it up and print it out and attach it to my will?

    Sounds like you did right by Bob. My condolences to you for the loss.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks. We did our best. And we have had enough deaths in our family that we talked about these things. But frankly, in the moment, memory isn’t always trustworthy.

      I like the idea of giving different parties responsibilities, too. Because we all have different facets of our lives, don’t we.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been after my husband for years to make burial plans. We have wills and POAs, but I need to know if he wants to be buried, where to be buried, or whether to cremate or donate his body to science (like I’m doing). He refuses to have this discussion. He’d better hope I die first because I made it easy for him. If he dies first, I’ll have to just do whatever I think is best – maybe buy a bigger oven or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does seem that it is at times like these, everybody talks about it. It should be as routine aa brushing and flossing. After all, you don’t want to go on vacation to somewhere you hate; wanna spend eternity there?!?!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m sorry for your loss. This seems highly unfair, don’t you think? 😦

    My husband and I have wills and other documents, and have had for years. The next step is even more important and that is to talk with our children about our wishes. That’s the one we’ve been putting off. It never seems like the *right* time, but any time is better than never. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What is it with people and estate planning? Or the lack thereof? I had to really get after my in-laws before they finally drafted a will. Even better was when I talked my f-i-l to establish a living trust, after his wife died. It made the job of distributing his estate much much easier, and I will always be grateful to him for doing this.

    Glad you got one last sunset with Bob. And at a beautiful place, also.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we just don’t like to face our own mortality. How could the world exist without me???

      Good for your F-I-L for doing it, and responding to your nagging!

      I have a will, but tomorrow I will show my son where it is. I didn’t even remember until I unearthed it recently. Guess it is time to send it to my attorney for safekeeping.

      Bob really had a great send off. We were going to release his ashes in the Gulf at sunset, but the red tide was horrible and too toxic for us to enter the water. So we released him off a bridge instead, into the moonlight. Just right.

      Liked by 1 person

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