Every age bracket has its own version of the talk. For adolescents, it’s the birds and the bees. Add a few years and the talk shifts to sexually transmitted diseases. The next talk is about college and career paths. Tick, tock…marriage, children and how to raise those children. The last talk is the toughest one of all and usually begins with, “We have decided where we would like to be buried.”
My parents have been attempting this talk for a while now and we, the children and grandchildren, have been ducking it just as long. Who really wants to discuss their parent’s demise? But is any other subject more important? Honestly, I would rather carry out someone’s wishes than try to impose my own thoughts onto what I believe that person would want. My parents waited until they had us all at one table and then bopped us on the head with “The Talk.” There was no escaping it this time. The papers have been drawn, signed and witnessed. Their clothing has been chosen and their favorite hymns picked out. The burial plots are paid for and the insurance will pay for the coffin transportation from Florida to the Bronx. The decisions have been made and put on paper. The burden is off our shoulders and while I’m not looking forward to it, their wishes will be carried out.
As a teacher and a minister, my parent’s legacy wealth is seen in our faith, education and love of family. This makes estate planning pretty easy. There is no great distribution of worldly goods because there was no great emphasis on worldly goods. But, even when there are no material goods to protect or distribute, loved ones need to know exactly what to do when the inevitable happens. While I’m not planning on biting the bullet anytime soon, I do have a living will. I don’t want to be a burden on my children, so I have deliberately taken the decision out of their hands. As nurses, my kids face life and death decisions everyday; their minds may know when my end is near, but their hearts may not.
Personally, I don’t care whether my earthly remains are buried or cremated and sprinkled, as my darling niece has suggested. While my parents do not believe in cremation, my only preference is that my kids don’t use all the insurance money to dispose of my body. I don’t need a coffin that costs as much as a car; I’ve lived a simple life and I want a simple departure. You cannot show someone how much you love them once they are gone.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.