Bury the dead and shred the documents

My sister and I talk on the phone every now and then. We see each other even more seldom, though. We enjoy one another’s company. We always laugh and tell the best stories and realize how much we have in common. We live in the same town. Why don’t we communicate more? Who knows. It’s just the way we are. For years we both worked demanding jobs. My sister has a big family. I have lots of friends and activities. We have always been so busy. And we liked it that way. On Saturday, after getting my hair done on the far east side of town, I decided to drive south to see my sister. We talked and laughed for two hours and would have spent more time doing so, but I needed to get home, which was a drive across town.

My purpose for the visit was to drop off my advanced directive in which my sister is named as one of the people who can give the authority to “pull the plug,” should the need arise. She would have no qualms about doing this. I also wanted to pick up the deed to the cemetery plots my parents bought over 50 years ago. There is one plot left and I want to be able to use it for Terry and me. My sister wants to be cremated and her ashes scattered to the wind. She wants no trace left behind.

My sister is 83, and in fairly good health, Who knows, though, how much longer she will be around, and when she dies, I’m sure I won’t be able to get things from her apartment, like that cemetery deed. It was stashed in a plastic box, under her bed, with all of the other papers that belonged to our mother. Mom has been gone for 18 years but my sister has done nothing with these papers. I offered to haul them home and shred them as I have a heavy duty shredder. She was happy to let me take the box.

Why do we let things like that box sit for so long? Eighteen years is a long time. I had no idea she still had all these things. There are boxes of blank checks. There is an old ledger from my parents’ farming days. There are hundreds of envelopes from Kaiser. I swear, my mother must have kept every Kaiser document ever mailed to her. Bank records from banks long merged with others. It’s going to take a few days to get it all shredded.


12 responses to “Bury the dead and shred the documents

  1. My sister has my power of attorney, too. We think completely differently, to the same end. When she had to decide on the clot busting drug that could also let me bleed to death, she concluded I’d be happy with one or the other so go for it. Sisters are fine things to have.

    • Betty is 17 years older than me and got married right after I was born. We’ve always been more like friends than sisters as I reached adulthood.

  2. Isn’t it strange that we can live so close and rarely communicate? I was just thrilled when my one and only sister moved back here from New York. Now we are lucky if we see each other once a month and rarely talk on the phone.

    • My sister and I know we can reach out to one another in a pinch, and have done so, otherwise we let each other live her own life, at her own pace.

  3. Good for you getting things all organized. Even better that you saw your sister.

  4. Some people just can’t deal with the idea of death. My husband was asked to be an executor for a family member many years ago, but no matter how much he asked, they haven’t given him any information.

  5. The advance directive for health care is what I do for volunteer work. My sister is my secondary agent, after my husband. I know she would definitely be willing to “pull the plug” if necessary. 🙂

  6. Your sister probably stashed the box of you mother’s things under the bed and forgot all about it. Good for you for volunteering to take care of it.

    • No, she never forgets about anything. Although 83, her mind is very sharp. She just didn’t want to deal with the contents, knowing that there wasn’t anything of real importance in the box. As we have gotten older, both of us have found it easier to put off doing onerous tasks.

  7. Goodwill offers free shredding here. I trust them…perhaps naively. It’s nice not to do all that stuff yourself. When George’s parents died closely upon my mother’s death, We finalized the estates, and Kept seven years of things.

  8. I can relate, I have a box of my mother’s letters to me and can’t work my way through them without crying. I feel silly as she’s been dead for 47 years now but she comes alive in those letters and I hear her voice so clearly.

    You must feel so happy now that your end is sorted. I like the practicality of your post.


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