Death brings out the best and worst of some people.
I am starting to believe that as a community, a family, a country…whatever, we have failed to address one of the most basic facts of our existence and that is that at some point we will die and those around us will die too. People need to understand it and not just from all the emotional angles but from legal ones as well. I don’t know Death 101, senior year maybe.
I have always struggled with the notion of inheritance. I guess I just don’t believe anyone else’s money or possessions are mine and therefore have never expected anything. I know other people feel very different on this subject and to make it clear this is not about my Mother’s death or my family secrets, I save those for books! It’s just the general notion of how we all think differently and when we think differently we behave differently.
I will share that, my family and my in-laws had shared their wills and wishes with us years ago. It didn’t go over easy for either but that is again because expectations differ from person to person. That is why I believe we all need a little training……back to Death 101.
As I mourn the loss of my mother, Ann Mary. As we lay her ashes to rest on the day 39 years to the date that my father died it is hard not to think of these things.
My mother’s most precious possession was a pair of diamond studded earrings that are nearly 125 years old. My brother and I were going to get them for tie tacks…….tie tacks! Who the hell wears them anymore? Instead my mom changed her mind at the last minute and left them to my daughter Madison with the wish that she would wear them at her wake and funeral. It was just beautiful, a beautiful gesture by her grandmother and a beautiful way to honor my mother at her wake and funeral. Not for a second was I upset that I didn’t get the opportunity to make a tie tack because I never in all these years thought of them as mine and so if she changed her mind it didn’t bother me in the least.
I am only responsible for me and my possessions, others are responsible for theirs. The notion of inheritance to me is as archaic as a dowry. It’s just me and my thoughts but wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we were all on the same page.
JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL ( HIS HUSBAND OF 31 YEARS) AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON. HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily ON TWITTER AND JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO ON FACEBOOK.