Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To those growing older and soon to part

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ publishes a monthly magazine called Candour. While it's available online, it's only accessible by a username and password, and obviously I'm not at liberty to pass those onto people reading this blog.

However, I am at liberty to let you know about a particular piece that appeared in the Sept 09 edition. It was written by Rev Jim Battersby, a retired minister living in Auckland.

The piece takes the form of a letter, and is entitled, To those growing older and soon to part.
The letter addresses the issue of how to come to terms with the fact that eventually any couple will be forced to face the issue that one of them will die before the other. This is especially pertinent for those who have been together for many years, and may be in their seventies or eighties or older.

Jim lost his own wife when he was 72 and has been on his own for 11 years. He knows the pain of separation, and the how it feels to cope after the loved one has gone. Suddenly all sorts of household responsibilities fall entirely on one pair of shoulders. Things that were shared have be done by one person alone. Domestic duties effectively double.

But there are other things that aren't so obvious, things that Jim says should be looked at before one or other partner dies. These include where to find important documents (often one person looks after these); how bills are paid, where family records are kept, the addresses of people on one side of the family who may not be so familiar to the other side.

For the wife there may suddenly be issues of maintenance. (In my house this would be no problem as my wife is the one who does most of the maintenance!) For men who have seldom cooked meals, there is the issue of dealing with daily food requirements. There may be a disability one or other spouse has: how will they deal with that when they're alone?

Some people may find it hard to deal with arrangements for a future funeral, but it certainly eases the burden when the day comes if some things are already in place. And then there are those issues that have never properly been resolved. They may still not get entirely cleared, but talking about them before a person dies is better than having them still hanging over you once they've died.

In the space of a couple of pages, Jim covers all these issues and more. I've been given permission by him to email or post copies of his article to anyone interested. Send me an email if you'd like a copy: email mcrowl@gmail.com. 

PS. Or you can now find it on my other blog.

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