The One Where Valentine’s Day Was A Matter of Life and Death

What Mel Did - strawberry cake Valentines Day

Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.

~ Buddha

I’ve written a couple of times about Valentine’s Day. The one where, after years of failed VD days, I waved the white flag and listened to what the Universe was telling me. And mostly it was telling me “Enough already; stop doing this to yourself.” (‘A Rose On Any Day Smells As Sweet’).

The other (‘On Boy Bands And Gift Horses’), began with me wondering if watching nubile young men in Valentine’s week was the last bastion of the middle-aged widow alone on VD day.

This year, on Valentine’s Day, I made a will.

Okay.

Wait.

What?

No, it was okay. It was something I had been putting off for a while; something that needed doing; and something I decided to get done, finally, on Valentine’s Day.

In fairness, before the very organised amongst you judge me, I had made a few attempts to sort the thing out, with varying results.

My last two encounters were with firms who treated me like conveyor belt fodder, or who wanted too quickly to come around and “appraise my assets.” Although that last one may not have been a firm of solicitors.

I finally called someone I knew I could trust for best advice, and who was also in the business of wills, trusts, inheritance tax planning and legal powers of attorney.

The refreshing change from Conveyor Belt & Sons was they took the time to understand my values, and the question: “What is it you’re really trying to achieve with this will, Mel?” brought a tear. Once that was understood, in places challenged, and then finally clearly articulated, the business end of setting out a will was imbued with clarity and without emotion.

What I know about death, and I mean really know (not all the anecdotes, platitudes and cliches we spout before the grim reaper arrives for dinner), is that it is final. No amount of coulda, woulda, shouldas means a jot. Everything left unsaid after death remains unsaid. Everything left undone remains undid.

In any case, there is nothing to be depressed about, since I also made the decision I’m not going to die.

Phew! Close one.

But back on Planet Sane, this Valentine’s Day making clear my intentions for after I am no longer here was one of the best acts of love I could have made on this year’s 14th day of February.

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2 Comments

  • I’m so glad you went to sympathetic and supportive lawyers. I have a couple of friends who recently received unexpected news in their deceased parent’s will. In both cases the parents were trying to be as fair as possible among a number of siblings and in both cases they made big mistakes. In one case, sharing the home of one daughter with her sister, who already owns a home, and who now wants it sold and to be given her half. There is no good answer to this – either one daughter gets nothing or the other daughter has the money for half a home and is too old and poor to get a mortgage. Expert advice is essential.

    • And that’s the best advice right there – getting advice. I was so sure of what I wanted without the knowledge to understand those wants don’t always translate into law. The temptation to do the thing quickly online did seem attractive, but knowing what I know now… Also, many firms have a free consultation which can help immensely whether your estate is vast or modest. Sorry to hear about your friends. Cleaning things up after death can be a messy business.

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