When I was a wee lad, one, if not both of my parents would put me to bed at night and the ritual was always the same. They knelt with me by my bed, taught me to fold my hands, bow my head and pray after them a classic children’s prayer dating to the 18th century.
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake….”
Think about it. I was already afraid of the dark and the folks provoked me to thinking about dying! Not the most comforting thought before they left the room.
The pandemic of 2020 has had the same affect. From morning to night, CNN reported on hot spots, masks, ventilators, and mortality projections. That was not the most comforting thought before drifting off – but it is a viable possibility and it prompted me to wonder.
If I should die – as a result of Covid 19, heart attack, cancer, or accident – what would the impact be on my family? As a chronologically mature fellow, I think primarily about my wife. Apart from the obvious – what would she need to know to navigate the transition from being married – soon to be 49 years – and being a widow?
I decided there was something I could do for her now that could help her on the occasion of my death. I created a Notebook, divided up into several sections – a gift of information for which she will one day be grateful.
Not known for being subtle, I entitled the book: “If I Should Die Before I Wake” and keep it on the bookshelves near our bed. I update it once a year at the same time the batteries in the smoke alarms are exchanged.
I start out with letters to my family, expressing my love for them and reaffirming life principles I found invaluable by which to live. I also included a Eulogy – great for persons who want to have the last word.
The remainder of the book includes names, numbers, e-mail, and snail mail addresses of the professionals she’ll need to consult post-funeral. I included one page listing my username and passcode to every app to which she might need or want access.
Perhaps most importantly, I outlined the various sources of income on which she could rely for the remainder of her life. Believe me – the Notebook will prove to be an invaluable gift – though I do not recommend giving it as an anniversary present. At my age, I no longer kneel, and I have modified the prayer: “When I die before I wake…”
Randall E. Davey, CAP® is a financial advisor with Guide Advisors, Inc. In certain circumstances, he may offer insurance as a sole proprietor or through Guide Advisors, Inc. He resides with his wife, Bonnie in Mesa, Arizona. Randall can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 425.478.5668.
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