Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Something in my purse.....

A post entitled "Prompt Tuesday" from San Diego Momma caught my eye today; write 150 words in under ten minutes about something in your purse or wallet. I'm reminded of the richness of purses in the lives of women; beautifully explored in my sister's website Purse Stories.

Here goes.......reader, beware! This one is dark and foreboding.

I keep it in my wallet at all times; have for over a year. Just in case the inevitable happens, which of course it will because death is inevitable, I keep this folded sheet of paper in the flap of my wallet just in front of the flap that holds the dollar bills. The typewritten sheet is my own creation, a succinct summary of what to do and what not to do in the event of their death(s). They have pre-paid for services, an attempt many, many years ago to take the stress off of family when death came to take them from us. The instructions simple, the words harsh on the page, haunting and taunting me, waiting, just waiting for the time and place when they'll come alive to guide me smoothly on the journey I dread.

Ironic perhaps that such detailed planning and preparation went into this phase of existence but seemingly no concern for the long years before death when for both, time has taken from them physical stamina and mental prowess. "Once a man, twice a child" it is said as both extremes of age blend into an oddly similar soup that those living in the middle, as wo"men" carry the weight of responsibility. In my darker days, I make note that death, ultimately, is but a tiny piece of this mammoth proposition.

I keep this paper, folded tightly, in a place where it can never be overlooked and wonder when I'll be called upon to follow its instructions.


  1. That's powerful.

    It'd be hard for me to carry in my wallet, but I know it's necessary.

    I found out the hard way when a dear, dear elderly friend passed away recently and nobody knew what to do.

    Thanks for playing and I loved your submission.

  2. This was hard to read, Kate. But, achingly well written.

  3. This is in case you pass away? How depressing!

  4. I think that this is a very difficult thing for all of us to think about our parents doing, or ourselves doing for those we will leave behind, but it is such an important thing to do. It will make things so much less complcated when that day arrives. My dad has done the same. We're in the process of doing it for Sted since she can no longer make that kind of decision. Thank you for sharing.

  5. P.S. Tell MM I love Purse Stories!

  6. It sounds like this piece of paper weighs heavily on your mind. You will have it when you need it. Until then you can keep it folded and "put away."

  7. Kate,

    I see the slip of paper your parents gave you as a beautiful gift. This is tangible proof that they tried to do all they could (when they were younger and still could) to ease what they expected would one day be a difficult job for you. It is validation that they saw you as a responsible adult who could tend to the most difficult of tasks. They entrusted you, Kate.

    Modern life has taken away many of the rituals and much of the intimacy of dealing with death, and it's added layers of complicated paperwork. We've done the same thing for our children.

    For me, the issue is not that they gave you instructions, but that you keep it in your wallet. If it makes you feel your parents' love -- if it helps you hold on to your memories of them as responsible and independent parents, then keep it in your wallet. If the paper weighs you down with dread or grief, may I suggest you keep it at home in a lockbox? If you must, you can make a copy to keep with you when you travel.

    with hope, Wendy


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