Thursday, September 6, 2018

My Book of Life

A major incident happened recently that jarred me to my core. After the initial shock faded a bit and I could start thinking clearly again, an idea, or maybe more appropriately a necessity, took hold in my mind. What follows is a bit off-subject for this blog, but I believe it should be said and also read by as many as possible. I can start by telling you what did not happen. Death, death did not happen. As we all know there are fates worse then death, such as total paralysis, strokes, Alzheimer's disease, etc. Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: "Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest." The fate known as stroke came in the early morning hours one Sunday and tragically struck down my mother. The cold shock of discovering her, many hours later, haunts my mind constantly and makes my conscience prefix every thought with "what if". Life goes on and so must mine, but time, usually the healer of wounds, is the enemy here.

Major incidents happen every day in people's lives, life changing events that force us to see a side of life that most don't like to think about. Most folks think that these type of incidents will not happen to them, some are in denial, and others obtuse. The fact of the matter is that this can happen and may even happen to you, yes you! Nobody is exempt by choice, only by fate. Aside from estate planning, funeral directives, living trusts, wills, power of attorney, and the such, there is an often overlooked area in your life that usually only one person knows about - you! The area that I'm referring to is the day to day stuff, or the things in your daily life, hence the title My Book of Life.

My Book of Life, aka Your Book of Life,  is a fairly simple idea that will fill in the gaps and could answer many questions should something major happen to you. Personally I am thinking of using a 3x5 note book, because I am old school (or maybe this blog, gee what a concept), but a journal works just as well. Already have a diary or daily planner that you use? Perfect. Notations in your "book" can vary widely but in my case will include updates on projects I am working on, as well as what I want done with certain stuff. It can also contain directions or hints on where to find certain things that only you may know about. This can also be accomplished with a simple check list. On my project cars I always start with making a check list of things that need to be done and then cross them off as I do them. On my current project, Time Warp, that list was pretty long so someone discovering that half of it has been checked off can be a big deal. Not into writing? Talk to someone. Let them know what's up and what your plans are. If I was to leave this life tomorrow or become permanently incapacitated, my family wouldn't know that I had just finished buttoning up the top end on my '56 Chevy and got it running again. That makes a huge difference if they had to sell it to pay medical bills, etc. They would not know what to do with my massive model train collection, what it's worth, or what is broken and what just got repaired. I know that it is common practice to list personal items in Living Trusts and Wills, but most folks don't have either and even if you do, unless you constantly update them there will be many questionable items. Information can be as simple as pointing them in the right direction to providing step by step instructions.

Your Book of Life is a perfect way to communicate what is happening, what has happened, and what you want to happen. Of course there is no guarantee that your wishes will be followed but at least you have communicated them and let them be known. Nobody knows when something tragic is going to happen, but when it does it is always sudden and usually without warning, leaving your loved ones in the dark about a lot of things. Shed some light on that darkness with your own Book of Life, you won't regret it and neither will your significant others.



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