Death 101: Homework

My brother-in-law died today. He and my sister had been divorced for many years, however, he was still part of the family. He served in the Air Force, but did not have a will. Why was that? He had been ill and knew that his time was almost up and yet, no will. What was he thinking? It was something he could do for free as a way to tie up loose ends and pave the way for those that followed.

When I was 27-years-old, my dad died. He was only 53.  My mom died when I was 40. Neither of them had a will or life insurance.  When I was 48, my husband died. You can bet we both had wills, medical proxies, living wills and anything else that would help the living deal with the dying.

In the book titled, Regrets of the Dying – the first regret often shared is this:
“I wish I’d have to courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.”


When I’ve asked others if they would take a different path and do something different, I am often told, “NO.”
They would not change a thing.
But I would. I would change everything.


Because if I change everything, then it’s a whole different tapestry. It’s still a work of colorful art, with threads that might go north and south instead of east and west.  It’s me. It’s like taking the road less traveled and coming out of the woods onto a blank canvas. I would still choose marriage eventually, but I would be older, educated and have allowed myself to experience the music, love and drugs of my time. I would have attended concerts, universities, lectures, and traveled across my country and abroad.

And by doing all those things I would have learned a bit more about me. There’s nothing wrong with the path I took. I had two beautiful sons, eventually got my education, moved to another state, met amazing people, took wonderful trips and landed where I am … right here and now.

…Writing this blog to you about death and taking the necessary steps before you die.

Those steps include writing a will, finding a medical proxy, writing your obituary (yes, you heard me!) writing love letters to all those people who need to hear from you, making phone calls and mending friendships. Do something kind today and each day until you take your last breath. Care to take this challenge? You can start by being kind to me and leaving me a ‘Hello’ message below.

I hope your day is filled with light, kindness and love!


Related Articles:

Unplugging to Stay Connected

Happy Monday my friends!

Sometimes I wonder if anyone cares about me anymore. The people that depended on me, needed my input, asked for my opinion… they’ve disappeared. Gone. Well, not gone. They still show up, eat their meals, do their work, take up space but I feel invisible around them.  Ever feel like that?

So, to make myself feel more visible I am spending more time in the company of others and doing lots of talking. No iPhones or tablets anywhere near us. Just lots of engagement.

It’s so easy to get pulled into online viewing of Facebook or Instagram and walk away feeling less about myself at the moment. I’m not ten pounds lighter, I’m not in Kauai, I’m not in an embrace with anyone. And yet, nobody is forcing me to check Facebook. So, why do I bother to visit? It sucks the joy out of me and leaves me questioning who I am. And, what am I missing out on?

Nothing is the answer. I am allowing something outside of me determine how I feel on the inside. Why would I do that? There are too many fun things to do, places to visit and flowers to smell instead of letting my happy spirit go down the rabbit hole.

It comes down to doing things the old fashioned way. Meeting up with friends. Making phone calls. Sending real cards in the mail. Putting myself on the front sidewalk at the end of the day so I can talk to the dog-walking neighbors. Starting a conversation with someone in the grocery store.

What do I have to lose? Well, again – Nothing. However, I have so much to gain. The feeling that I am in control of my happiness. That feeling that I connected with a totally random person. The feeling that I can unplug and still be connected.

It’s worth a try, right?

Ever feel lost in a crowd? How did you rise above it?

Related Resources:
Simple Conversation – HappilyAfterRetirement.com

A Time & a PlaceHappilyAfterRetirement.com

Today’s Quotes -SoulGatherings.wordpress.com

Looking for THE BIG WHAT!

Can you be Happily After Retirement, really? What about feelings of being disconnected and alone? What about not having that place where coworkers gather and converse, share and connect over projects, over work, over a lifetime? Or a scheduled reason to get up and get going every day? Or a million other things?

Well for me, retirement is about staying connected to people, organizations, nature and myself. It’s volunteering, working out, hiking, and growing. The growing involves lots of reading, lectures, libraries and silence. The silence allows me to stop the noise and review who I am, what I am and where I am going.

However, for as much as I want you to believe I have it figured out, I do not. I am wanting to be part of something bigger, yet something intimate. I need to have structure but also want the freedom to travel. I search blogs, read magazines and books, attend gatherings and continue to wonder where I belong. Have you figured it out yet? Some people follow their bucket list, others clean their closets. There is no answer to this one – like when we left school and were expected to get a job. Now we are leaving a career and what…?

I am looking for THE BIG WHAT?

Whether I write this blog or not, life goes on either way. The sun still rises and it’s glorious. Sometimes I capture the scene on my camera but I would rather just sit in awe and soak it in. Maybe I’ll blog about the colors, the smells and try to describe the fresh air but I’d rather take that hike up the hillside with friends. With you.  What are your wants?

Marianne Williamson wrote so eloquently “We are all meant to shine, as children do.” And now, as we enter retirement, we are also allowed to shine. Duties and responsibilities are winding down and options are on the horizon.

I’m not the only one that feels like this, am I? So, how do we connect?  What is it that you do with your time that makes you giggle with anticipation of it?

There are so many ways to expand my horizons and not even leave my couch. Which is so good … and not good at all! Movement is necessary in so many ways. Trust me on this one. Action is the key to life.

Bradley Whitford wrote this brilliant passage…

“Infuse your life with action.
Don’t wait for it to happen.
Make it happen.
Make your own future.
Make your own hope.
Make your own love.
And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

Get busy living… a reminder from my favorite movie – Shawshank Redemption –
Get busy living or get busy dying !
What shall it be my friends?


Resources & Treasures:

Mirth and Motivation: Live your wild precious life
https://mirthandmotivation.com/2019/04/08/motivation-mondays-live-your-wild-precious-life/

The Why About This: To Write is to Breathe
https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2822738/posts/2237239776

7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Your Life Purpose
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/7-strange-questions-that-help-you-find-your-life-purpose

Youtube Learning
https://www.youtube.com/education?lg=EN&b=400

NOVA
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/series/nova-wonders/#living-in-you

Maggie Rogers: Tiny Desk Concert
https://youtu.be/SqPtIkxSxI0

The Fork in the Road
https://happilyafterretirement.com/2018/06/30/the-fork-in-the-road/

Podcasts: Either go to their website and listen or go into your phone app store and download any podcast app and start listening!

Beautiful Writers Podcast
Afford Anything
Good Life Project
Clark Howard

Audiobooks (from almost any library) for free can be listened to on these great platforms:

Youtube videos: