June 27, 2008


She Left Me What?

Be careful how much stuff you accumulate in your life - it can become an absolute nightmare when you die.

This is a good piece from the NYT. More interesting, however, is the multitude of comments that go with the article. Flip through them, and compare your nightmares to the commenters. From people who think their stuff is worth a fortune, to those who have no clue just what they have, a death in the family brings out the knives.

I don't know that you can ever totally prepare for everything. Regardless of how carefully someone allots everything, writes down details and directives, takes everyone's feelings into account, there is always some asshole in every family that tries to explain that a TV or a vacuum has such sentimental value to them.

While the article is more of a "what am I supposed to do with this?" piece, and the guilt associated with not sharing the deceased's reverence for an object, the comments are more about the emotional toll of death vultures. Houses cleaned out during funerals, questionable funds withdrawn, 'missing' jewelery - what vile creatures the human species can be.

I have some odd little bits and scraps around my house. The things I've valued the most from people I've loved tend to be innocuous anyway. Sentiment can be dangerous when attached to the wrong things. My goal is to keep the 'stuff' to a minimum, keep it small and transportable, and remember that you bond with people, not objects.

If you play the what-if-your-house-was-on-fire thing, and think about what you'd grab other than kids and pets, most people say the photo album. It's true; everything else can be replaced. We should keep that in mind.

6 Comments:

Anonymous buzzwhack said...

The most interesting thing is how people assign emotional content to their possessions. Our society built it's entire existence around it. When you die, that's it. You won't knwo what happens to your prized brass knocker collection so if your relatives sell it to make some rent money, that's good. Easy to say this...living it that's another story!

June 27, 2008 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Calamity said...

I quite often say to my sons "Someday, all this will be yours", half-jokingly. Why do I feel that a dumpster will be parked outside my house soon after the funeral service?

June 27, 2008 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when my friends Father passed away her siblings emptied his bank account before she had even started to make funeral arrangements. My parents upon hearing this decided to gift me with the only thing they had that I wanted. My Grandfather's mantel clock. Worth little cash wise but priceless to me, I was born on his birthday and named for his second wife. It has been in my house for more than ten years now and one sister still says she wants it when my parents pass! I have power of attorney and Executorship and fully expect to be the evil witch when the time comes, sigh.

amw

June 27, 2008 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intersting how some thought of wealth, some inheritance, changes them. The nicest of people turn into Vultures or maybe it is just their true colour showing through finally!!! I told me kids, look at it now. It will be all gone before I kick the bucket, if I can help it. They get their fair share now, while I am alive. I like to see them have some enjoyment though my eyes. They won't have to fight over much. It is all in the Will...

June 27, 2008 12:46 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Trust me. One of them will find a way to fight over the open box of Triscuits you leave behind...

'Much wants more', as my mother used to say. If only she could know how right that saying is...

June 27, 2008 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine: That is all that will be left, if I have my way. As was said by one of the wealthiest men in the world, Buffet, "you didn't bust your hump in this world to leave it to our kids too waste". "Spend it all on yourself, and let them fend for themselves like we did". I think it is a good philosophy, but the "bubble wrapped kids" get by on their own? Now that is the question.

R...

June 27, 2008 2:31 PM  

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