Saturday, November 18, 2017

Another splash of cold reality kicks in ...

... when by pre-arrangement I met with Attorney Peter Lippett yesterday -- with my Durable Power of Attorney tucked neatly into a large re-cyced manila envelope for this morning's going over of the instructions for those End of Life issues that  are so difficult to think about ... whether and if I wanted to be resuscitated, and under what conditions?  Who would be in charge of those decisions so that my instructions would be followed precisely (which Peter assured me of)?

Whatever remained in the air of strangeness was dissipated when Peter asked if I wanted to donate any organs, and I became aware of a giggle forming somewhere at the bottom of my throat as I tried to imagined why anyone would queue up to receive 96 year-old body parts or organs, anyway?  I realized in that exchange that this would not be your typical set of instructions, right? I stifled the giggle and silently reminded myself that this was serious stuff that required at least a modest amount of dignity. Besides, if these final years continue to be as productive as the first 96, there won't be anything left to bury or burn. My plan is to be all used up with no leftovers!

Peter is an estate planner, and my Will and Trust had not been emended for over ten years, and there were changes to be made now that Rick was gone, and then there were three ... .

I'm living with such contradictions these days, into a time when such planning is required in order to assure that my end may be more auspicious than (perhaps) my beginnings had been, which might indicate some generational progress.  In a way I'm so pleased that I've arrived at 96 with my independence fairly intact.  I've somehow managed to remain at the head of my family without becoming dependent upon them.  If for no other reason, that has become a point of pride at a time when my life continues to be propelled by circumstances into an unknown future where I'm still having first-time experiences, and continuing to live a contemporary life in an exciting present.

Ceremony at Mills College last spring
Peter Lippett comes highly recommended by a friend of long-standing, so -- despite the fact that we've only met socially, and fairly recently -- it was possible to transfer enough of that "Roger" friendship and trust to Peter so that there was no ice to break, or, strangeness to overcome.  From the first moments in his office I was at home with a sense of continuity.  Peter and JoEllen will now become family, as are Roger and Jean; friends of many years.

We spent a couple of hours together, ending with lunch in a seafood restaurant near his office in Lafayette, after which he drove me back along the scenic San Pablo Dam road to Richmond.  I'm almost all legally "estate-planned" and ready to go -- leaving behind no loose ends to be disputed.  I'm not at all sure I enjoyed the experience, though.  These are difficult things to contemplate.  I find myself wondering if it would be easier if I were a believer?  I suspect not, especially in these times when believing has become suspect by virtue of how far the nation and the world have strayed from the values embedded in religious orthodoxy. The somewhat formal lawyer/client conversation yesterday with Peter -- hinted at the fact that I've met another benevolent cynic -- and that is somehow comforting.

Now that those End of Life issues have been faced squarely; looked at without flinching; I'm now ready to re-start the Resuming of Life issues, and to begin still another chapter in the ongoing life of Being Betty.

This afternoon at two o'clock I will meet another inquiring group of friendly strangers in our little theater at the Visitor Center, and experience still another hour of magical Truth-Telling, and I will feel useful and worthy again -- as if this is my calling -- as well it might be ...  should there be such a thing.

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