Friday, June 03, 2011

Where there's a Will...

Peggy was in today. She’s well into her eighth decade and in pretty good shape. She survived a cancer diagnosis – going through surgery then chemo and radiotherapy and follow-on operative procedures all over ten years past, and has never looked back. The surgeons have told her she’s cured and she hasn’t needed follow up in more than three years.

Today she’s in to talk about a minor injury, sustained a week or so ago, and healing nicely, so no need to worry. And yet... worried she is.

How do I know? She tells me so—though she did look far more apprehensive that the minor injury warranted so I had already guessed as much.

And why? Not through the injury, and not from her past health scares. No today she is worried because last week she and Jack visited their solicitor and made their Wills. As she put it “We’d never made a Will before, and now I have I’ve got to face up to the fact that I’m going to die.” It’s as though the simple act of making a testamentary disposition has opened wide the door to the Grim Reaper, The Fourth Horseman, The Pale Rider (no not Clint—the real one*). In short she has had to formally acknowledge her mortality.

What impresses me most is that after everything she went through ten years past it hadn’t even entered her consciousness that cancer was something she might not survive. Her faith in the undeniably excellent care and support she was given then, and for the years after, had allowed her not to have to do so. She’s a little surprised that she feels this way now, but I can reassure her it’s something I’ve seen many times before and so, far from cracking up, she’s displaying a normal if utterly irrational response to the feelings generated by this simple act of forethought.

I’ve tried to calm her fears by telling her that to the best of my knowledge there is no hotline from Hades to the offices of the legions of probate solicitors worldwide, and especially none here in Borsetshire. At least I hope not.

*That said, these days Clint is looking his venerable age, and might pass in a dim light for the Bony Fingered Wielder of the Scythe.


Z said...

A friend of mine was worrying a couple of weeks back because her husband will not make a will. I asked if he's afraid that he will die as a result, and she says that he is. I established that they don't own much other than their house, which they own jointly, and reassured her that it will not cause too much of a problem, he's quite a stubborn chap and arguing will just make him worse.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

I can understand Peggys concerns, irrational as they may be - for I share them myself.

Had a DIY Will Kit for over five years and just can't bring myself to complete it. Just feel that I might be tempting fate and the Grim Reaper will view completion as a thumbs up sign.

So, if I am run over by a bus tomorrow - my family can fight over my millions!

Anna :o]

Anonymous said...

I have been nagging an elderly relative for some while to make lasting powers of attorney as his solicitor has advised. He has refused. He now has dementia and told me today that he is going to see his solicitor. We had a very difficult conversation in which I explained that he may no longer have capacity to make an LPA and that someone may have to go to the court of protection to look after his affairs. He looked so sad. We will see his geriatrician next week and seek his opinion. Horrible situation.

ageing student said...

Just clicked on the bookmark in passing, not expecting to see anything since your last (February-ish?) post and there you were with not one but two to read. Thank you for popping back from time to time - I shall do the same.

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