I Saved the Hard Stuff for Last


It’s 3am and I can’t sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep well for a few weeks now. It might be hormones. It might be something I’ve eaten – for 3 weeks straight? Probably not.

I know what it is and I’m going to be flat out, wide open honest with you.

I have been “washing pots.” 

The term “washing pots” came from my stepmother who noticed that when her daughter wanted to avoid doing something that was difficult or that she just didn’t want to do, she’d get out her perfectly clean pots and wash the outside of them until they shined.

It describes the busy work we do to avoid something we don’t want to do.

For the past year I have worked at decluttering MY WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE and now that I’m coming down the home stretch, I see that I saved the hardest stuff for last.

I cleaned out and cleared out every closet, every drawer, every conceivable nook before I made it to this place – the place I’m at this week. I went through every piece of paper in my mountain of files so that I could have all the important papers to put in my fire proof safe.

The dreaded safe where all the most important papers go. The papers that include my will and all the information that my kids will need for when I die.

AARRRG! I hate this part!

I don’t hate it because I’m scared or I don’t know what I’m doing. I hate it because I’ve dealt with this stuff WAY TOO MUCH!

You see, I’m the youngest child of the youngest child. I’ve outlived everybody. It’s a lonely place to be. People say that the youngest children have it easy, they are the babies, everybody takes care of us. Whatever! The youngest children bury everybody. I hate to be that blunt, but it’s 3am and I haven’t slept well in weeks.

In my life (even in this past year) I have had to make decisions that I shouldn’t have had to make for people I love. I made them because I loved them, but I wish I could have been spared the pain.

After sitting at the big, shiny conference table faced with how we were going to pay for my sister’s funeral and this past year sitting with my friend, literally on her death bed, getting a will together and making decisions that should have been made earlier, I decided that I was going to get my S%#@ together beforehand so that my kids wouldn’t have to suffer more than they needed to whenever I bite the big one.

So, I’ve spent the past 4 days pouring over a booklet that takes you through all the questions and things you need to consider for when you die. I’ve been to the cemetery every day for 4 days making those tedious decisions that make you say, “Will this really matter when I’m dead?” I’ve answered inane questions like “Do you want a view of the lake or a view from the hill?” with “Are you kidding me? I won’t be there, what does it freaking matter?”

I’m sorry to get so morbid and on the verge of cussing but it’s hard.

Steave has had to go through this with me, poor guy. He is just like everybody else and would have just put it off but he’s married to me and I’ve made him answer questions like, “Do you want a quote on the grave marker?” and “What about music at the memorial service?”

I’ll be honest, it has raked my soul over the coals, but I just keep thinking about my kids and how I just want to make it as easy as possible for them. I know, I know, it’s impossible to take away their grief, but I have been the one having to make these decisions for a family member while I was grieving and crying my eyes out and I want to spare them as much unnecessary tedium and pain as I can.

It really has been so much more pleasant to sit across the big, shiny conference table from the cemetery guys and laugh and make jokes when no one has died than after someone has. I’d rather walk with the cemetery guys picking out “property” in the sunshine than leave my kids the chore of containing their emotions when all they really want to scream is, “My mom has died! Who gives a flying rip about the color of the granite under the marker???”

Been there, done that.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. Kinda creepy. Kinda sad. But it will be good to have it done.

This decluttering process has lead me inevitably and naturally to this point. However, I have been messing around with my pantry and my linen closet to try to put off this moment for as long as possible. I really did save the hardest part for last.

After tomorrow, however, when I return from the cemetery letting them know that I’ve decided on the “Deco” design rather than the “Laurel” design for the grave marker (insert eye roll here) I can get back to more fun decisions like, “What font should I use for labeling my office supplies?”

Then maybe I can get some sleep and maybe, just maybe, dear reader you will be spared another 3am rant and roll.

I wish you peace.

Now back to forcing my eyelids closed.




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