Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cataloging for the Next Generation

I am by no means, 'old.' I am however, not in the splendor of my youth.
I have a house payment, car payment, matching dishes and the big one, insurance.

I have insurance for health & wellness. I have insurance for the vehicles. But the big, screaming sign that says, 'I AM AN ADULT' is the insurance for my home and belongings and jewelry.

I am frugal enough that no money is spent willy-nilly. I track my finances, balance my bank account, and I've even started bullet journaling to help me keep track of daily things, goals, and productivity.

Just last thanksgiving while at my parents, my father gave me a sheet of paper. It had his and mom's personal information on it, along with bank account numbers, life insurance policy information, stock information and general after-death what-not.

First off, I thought thanksgiving was a weird time to hand me that paper. But, in dad's defense, I do live 800 miles away and don't get to visit as often as I want. When I first moved so far away, I went back to visit three times a year. Last year I went back five times. Two years ago I went back three times, including spending almost the whole month of June with them as well as Thanksgiving.

Mom had a small exploratory procedure done just before thanksgiving that year. I wanted to be there for it, so I made sure I took my mid-terms early, and I drove down to be with dad while mom was in surgery.  I called my brother in Virginia, emphasizing that he needed to be there, too. But he backed out saying he couldn't go. He hadn't spent any time with our parents but maybe a total of 6 days in the last 10 years, barely called, and owed them $5000.

Thanksgiving that year I will never forget. Doctors determined she had a 90% blockage in her right carotid artery, and the left was almost as bad, and there was a blockage in her leg.
We scheduled a surgery to repair  the problem and  mom got dressed to leave.

She never left that day.

You see, when she went to get dressed, she got dizzy. So the doctor was called back in, and another doctor, and another.

Mom was too weak to leave the hospital. They wanted to keep her overnight and do more tests. And they did. Three doctors later they determined the carotid artery blockage was aggravating her ability to sufficiently move oxygenated blood through her system. So they scheduled the surgery the next day.

Mom spent three days  in the hospital. I stayed right there with her, on a small pull-out couch. She was released thanksgiving morning. I drove her home while dad stayed home cooking.

On that thanksgiving day, everyone came over (except my brother), and we ate, and laughed, and mom complained about the big bandage on her neck.

Somewhere around 4pm, mom said she was light-headed. I took her blood-pressure. It was low. She has and takes medicine for high-blood pressure. We waited 10 minutes and took her pressure again. It was even lower.

We took her pressure one last time, and it dropped so drastically (55/38) that she should have been passed out. I immediately told dad (who was lying down for a post turkey nap) that I was taking mom to the ER. I folded mom into my car and sped off for the heart hospital as fast as I could. I swear if a cop had tried to pull me over he would be doing it in the ER parking lot because I was not stopping.

I called the doctor on the way to the hospital, and he called the ER letting them know we were coming.

No one met me at the ER. I ran in, got a wheelchair, saw a nurse and yelled, "white female, 73, BP 55/38" and ran back outside to get mom...and when I opened the car door, she vomited on the ground. I picked her up and put her in the wheelchair and ran back inside, leaving the car door open.

The nurses then sprang into action as I watched them remove her top, take her BP, set up oxygen and do everything they could to stabilize her. My cousin, nieces, and kids all met me at the hospital, waiting for word on grandma. I called my professors and got more time to be away. Finals would have to wait for me, and they agreed.

Mom spent another five days in the hospital. I never left her side.
She was diagnosed with COPD, and somehow by removing the carotid blockage her previously undiagnosed COPD became aggravated, and with the renewed flow of blood, her system was in shock.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it made me realize that family is not blood. Family is who sticks by you. Family is not your parent, your child, your aunt or uncle. Although it can be. Family is the people that are there for you, however inconvenient for them, in whatever way they can. Blood doesn't make you family.  It makes you related. Family > blood.

I think I will copyright that. Family > Blood. It is absolutely true.

Anyway, back to why I originally started this post.
I decided with all the organizing I do, all the goals I set, all the planning of finances I do, that I needed to make arrangements for insurance purposes and for when I die. So I downloaded a blank Last Will and Testament off the internet and started going through it. I came to the part of belongings and bequeaths.

That made me pause.

What do I want to give whom? And why?

So for insurance purposes and for my will, I am embarking on cataloging my belongings. I don't want to leave my kids with just money. There are no memories or stories attached to money. However, there is a story behind the antique buffet in the kitchen, and the bedroom set I bought my daughter, and the picture of an old worn-out, three-story building on my hallway wall.

Legacy. Antiques. Memories.
That's what I want to leave them.
Not cold cash that will be spent on bills or braces for future grandkids.

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