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.