Who gets the cat if we die before he does? Why am I leaving money in my will to a theater that produces outdated plays for outdated people? Why are the deceased still on my list of inheritors? And would it be a good idea if we gave the executor of our estate a copy of our will and a key to our front door, or should we leave it to him to kick it in?
As we get older, we need to consider these questions or ones like them every few years as part of what is known euphemistically as “putting your house in order.” The truth is that the literal act of getting your house in order is a lot simpler than updating your personal records, putting together a list of people to invite to your funeral, and drafting an obituary. The latter belongs in the, “Who wants to think about this stuff now, I’ll get to it later” category of things to do.
My husband and I are talking about it only because a tour company is asking us what we want done with our bodies if we’re killed overseas. Actually, the tour company only requested emergency contact information. I tend to overdramatize, but that’s because the first thing that comes to mind when putting ‘traveling’ and ’emergency contacts’ in the same sentence is, There’s nothing anyone here could do if we got sick there — wherever “there” might be — so they must really be asking, What do we do with your bodies if you decide to run with the bulls, climb without oxygen, or overindulge on the native cuisine?
My solution was to ask some very well-prepared friends for advice. Regrettably, they gave it and now we have a lot more work to do than we did when we were only occupied with wringing our hands. It just occurred to me that there might be another way to tackle this. We could invent some emergency contacts and let them worry about the bodies.