Who you gonna call?

When my father died there wasn’t a list of all his friends. He was very proud of the fact that he was able to memorize everybody’s address and phone number. But that didn’t do me any good when it was time to call them after he died. I had to go by the Christmas card list that my mom had. From that, I was able to look up some people’s phone numbers by calling directory assistance. This was 20 years ago.

Now of course you can look people up online. But sometimes that comes with a charge. It’ll get you near where you want to go but it won’t get you all the information. Perhaps there are privacy issues. Perhaps it is greed. Either way, it is annoying.

Now that my mother-in-law has died we have a list of all of their friends and relations to contact. But it turns out their list is not up to date. We can’t ask my father-in-law what the numbers are because he has dementia.

We don’t have some of the correct numbers because people have dropped their home phone line and gone to using a cell phone. And those you can’t look up online. We’ve even thought of using the cell phones of my parents in law to see if they had the new numbers saved there. No luck.

I’m starting to think that if they didn’t have the right phone number then maybe that person wasn’t that close.

Perhaps it is a good idea for me to start writing down my list of all the people I would like to come to my funeral, or at least to know that I have died.

It may seem strange, but sometimes the only way I have found out that someone has died is through Facebook. It’s the modern way of telling people what’s going on. Nobody reads the obituaries anymore. Nobody subscribes to the newspaper.

We have constructed our lives with emails and texts, and our computers and phones are password protected. How is anyone going to know who to call? Bills are sent electronically to email inboxes, and paid online with passwords and log-ins. How are our survivors going to know how to take care of our estate?

A difficult situation has become even harder because of modern conveniences.

It is hard enough to grieve. It is almost impossible to grieve and handle an estate at the same time. Nothing is normal, and then there is something really hard to do on top of that. Unraveling someone’s life is weird, and strange. It is like you are erasing a life, account number by account number.

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