July 29

What’s left behind

New Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?, (photo CNN)
New Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?, (photo CNN)

Long lost treasures

The excitement surrounding yesterday’s release of the latest Dr. Seuss book, “What Pet Should I Get?”  Got me to thinking about what happens with your stuff after you die.  If you are Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) then everyone gets really excited and you get published nearly a quarter of a century after your passing.  For the rest of us, however, this is probably not the case.

I hate to admit…

The youngest grandchild who will never remember her grandparents
The youngest grandchild who will never remember her grandparents


That my consideration of post-mortem “stuff” can be attributed to what I consider my preoccupation with death.  It’s not to the pathological extreme in which my entire day is spent contemplating death and dying, but thanks to my firsthand experience with the matter, it’s not something that is all that easily ignored either.

I am only in my early 40s (hold on, I had to think for a minute only to remember that yes, I am a year older than I thought – DARN!).  Regardless, I am still relatively young to have already lost both of my parents.

My parents informed me…

Nearly 20 years ago that I would be the executor of their estate when they died, which at that time I thought was something far far in the future.  When they shared this information with me, I was in my early 20s and burst out laughing.  “Me?!?! You’ve got to be kidding!!!”  I remember discussing the details of this new information with them over lunch, and they helped me to understand why I was chosen for this role.

Less than 5 years after learning of my responsibilities, my Dad was gone.  Then, 10 years later, my mother took an 8-months-pregnant me all around the house showing me where “important” papers and files were located.  She was due to have surgery, and I suppose, was covering her bases.  I only half-listened to her on that October day as I didn’t figure this was information I was going to need just yet.

I was wrong.  Mom never made it out of the hospital, and I had to patch together what I remembered to handle a lifetime’s worth of “important” paperwork.  While I have yet to come across any unpublished manuscripts like Audrey Geisel did in 1993 and again in 2013, I did unearth any number of loose ends that needed tying up.

My mother was meticulously organized which made the difficult job of taking over where she left off just a bit easier.  However, even if you live to be 142, it is still quite likely that there will be something left unfinished.

Legacy in progress

Now as I look forward on my own life with a personal view of its finite nature, I wonder what will happen with my “stuff.”  I have thousands of pictures on my hard drive.  Will anyone ever see them?  I have first drafts of novels I wrote years ago that I haven’t even read.

If I died tomorrow all my “stuff” would likely matter very little to most everyone but those very closest to me, and even they might resent having to go through it all.  So in life while I still have whatever time God gave me at my creation I must endeavor to scale back to only the stuff that really matters.

As far as the rest of it, if I live a life that matters that’s the most important “stuff” I can leave behind for those who follow.


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Posted July 29, 2015 by R.C. Brophy in category "Just Checking In

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