St.Margaret's News August 2020 - Page 9

come to realise the reality that one day, one day (in the distant future, we hope) it will become a reality for us too. I’m fairly relaxed with knowing that one day I won’t be here, although I do worry about the process of dying. So often it is accompanied by pain and suffering causing misery and mental stress for the person involved and for the family and friends witnessing it. Spike Milligan, the famous British comedian, summed it up nicely when he said “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens!” Grandma Alice Toose, Marge’s mother, was fortunate. She went to bed one night and didn’t wake up the next morning; I think we’d all like to do it that way. Most of us want to live into old age, (it is sometimes said that no one want’s to live to 100, until they get to 99) but it’s the journey rather than the destination, that we enjoy. Living the life of a frail, aged person is not a barrel of laughs, but we still want to hang on to life while we have it. Palliative care has progressed significantly, minimizing the suffering of those near the end and that is a good thing. Moves to legalise euthanasia have gained strength recently. I support these moves on the condition that very clear and strong laws be in place to prevent abuse of innocent or vulnerable people being pushed off early by unscrupulous relatives tired of looking after the person or just impatient to get their hands on their inheritance. (Family: Take note!) There are some things we should do in preparation for death, and we shouldn’t put off doing them. The most important one is making a WILL. Once we become adults, especially if we have the responsibility of a family, we should make a will! A will simply sets out what we want to happen once we are no longer here. It is a legal document that comes into effect at the time of death. Mostly it relates to how we want our assets disposed of, who we want to handle the winding up of our affairs (someone we can trust, known as the executor), who our beneficiaries are and what share each will receive and if there are any conditions attached. It can also leave instructions regarding funeral arrangements. To avoid possible problems and expense, and in fairness to the family, everyone should have a will. There is another document called an Enduring Power of Attorney” which we should also have. It is a legal document that appoints one or more people who we can trust to act on our behalf if we become incapacitated or unable to make decisions. The son of a friend of mine said at his father’s funeral “Dad planned his retirement very well (As an active retiree he and his wife had a full and enjoyable life) but, unfortunately, he didn’t prepare for his old age (As a widower, he became lonely, housebound, argumentative and insisted on making decisions concerning health and financial matters, even as he developed dementia, to his own and his family’s disadvantage).” That is a mistake too many people make. We like to think we shall never reach that condition but we don’t know and, in fairness to our family we should have an Enduring Power of Attorney. It ceases to apply once death occurs; at that point the will comes into effect. It is invariably a difficult time for family and friends when a death actually occurs; sadness and sometimes shock. There are also the practical matters that have to be attended to. The executor needs to take steps quickly to get a copy of the will and then to take control of the estate. The will sometimes has St Margaret’s News 9 August 2020