My Means To My End


I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. For me, they create too much pressure — and within a week, they’ll be in the trash heap and I’ll be spending the rest of the year beating myself up because I didn’t go to the gym or lose weight or learn a new craft.  Besides, in my world, each day gives us a chance to get a fresh start — hence, the sunrise photo at the top of this post.

This year, though, is different.

Orchid, close-up.

Maybe it’s because it’s a new year and a new decade. Maybe it’s because Joe and I just saw the dermatologist and had a few things cut off and set out for biopsy. Maybe it’s because tomorrow is my first stress test since arriving in Florida, and I just passed the one-year anniversary of the placement of my 14th coronary stent. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more stories I hear about friends, family, and random people suddenly dying from either an illness or an accident. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I worry about the end . . . my end.

I apologize if all of this seems morbid — and I’ve tried to soften it with photos of flowers currently blooming in my garden — but this end-of-my-days stuff has been tapping me on my shoulder for some time now. I, however, chose to ignore it — until today.

The remains of a Bromeliad flower.

Let’s face it — death is a fact of life. Just look at all of the plants that you and I have loved over the years — and how many of them have died. Perennials and trees give us years — even decades or more of enjoyment — but pity the poor annuals. To paraphrase from Carol Burnett, “It seems they just got started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say so long.”

It’s the same thing with people. The older we get, the more we realize how quickly time passes. I recently watched a series, The Movies That Made Us, on Netflix. It looks at what happened behind the scenes at the some of the most iconic movies ever made. When a friend first told me about the series, I thought how interesting to hear all about Sunset Boulevard and other classics from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.

Instead, the series focused on films from the ’80s! The first episode was about Dirty Dancing. Excuse me, but when did Dirty Dancing become 33 years old? It feels as if I saw it yesterday! Could 33 years truly feel like yesterday? Am I so old that moments in my life are considered “iconic”?

Light Bulb Clerondenrum.

Joe and I have made plans for our passing — wills and DNRs and healthcare proxies and all that. I, though, have not made any arrangements for my digital life — my Nitty Gritty Dirt Man existence. That’s all changing in 2020.

For starters, I’m investigating each of my social media platforms for their “death” information. WordPress, which hosts this blog, appears to have the most comprehensive policy — including information on how to make someone else an admin on my site and how WP can work with the designated survivor to either transfer the site to another owner or make it private.

Aloe.

Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, are vying for second place — although FB has a slight edge. Simply click on the question mark in the upper right corner of the page and type in “death.” There will be a list of topics, including creating a legacy contact and memorializing the FB account of the deceased. Twitter has a similar search area, but the information feels a bit less complete than FB.

In my brief research, LinkedIn appears to need some work in the area.

Gout Plant.

There’s also my own plan. My hope is that Joe will be outlive me, and it’s for him that I am making a spreadsheet with all of my NGDM and personal social media accounts, as well as the password for each of them. I’m also going to type out step-by-step instructions on how to post what is the most difficult part of this process.

I’m going to write my own farewell post to you. After all, you are a large part of this blogging process and of gardening. Your support and encouragement and smiles are often more rewarding than a seed successfully sprouted.  Once written, it will remain as a draft — hopefully for a very long time — and Joe will simply have to open the admin page and hit publish.

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow.

As I write this, I’m suddenly realizing there’s always the possibility Joe will pre-decease me (although, I don’t really see that happening since I have more health issues) or that we will both go at the same time. In either case, I’m going to have to choose a digital executor or . . .

. . . accept that at some point, it’s all ashes to ashes, bytes to bytes.

13 thoughts on “My Means To My End

  1. Oh, my. It must be in the air. I’m up to the same thing. And while I find I want to wish you abundant health (and I DO), I also feel a bit like a co-conspirator. Stepping out of denial about death seems risky and counter to our culture, but it also has an element of freedom. Thank you for writing this!

    • Hi Cheryl — if you only knew how long this has been stewing in my head. Many years ago, when I started blogging, I “met” another blogger who was so inspirational and encouraging to me. One day, things seemed silent. I checked on his blog, and nothing had been added in some time. When I checked back again, there was a post from his wife letting his readers know that he had passed. That’s when this seed was planted — and it’s one of those topics that makes us very happy to keep on the back burner. This year, especially, it was simmering, then boiling, and then the lid blew off the pot and I had to look at it and make sense of it. It reminds me of my move to Florida. When I lived in NY, I had crates and crates and crates of vinyl records — and in Florida, there wasn’t enough storage in the house and vinyl in a hot attic is not a good mix. I sold them all to a collector — and it was liberating. That’s how I feel about this topic — and I’m thrilled to be a co-conspirator with you. May our final post remain in the draft folder for a long time. 🙂

    • Hi PBM. It’s just another way our world has changed — and it’s often something that’s overlooked. That being said — yes, flowers help. Have a wonderful 2020!

  2. I used to blog a lot about finance (on a different platform) and developed a good friendship with a retired bond trader. He became a mentor to me and followed me all around social media over the course of a decade. When I first encountered him online, he had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and had started experimental therapies for it (immunotherapy, for which a group of scientists just won the Nobel Prize). He seemed like he was well into remission, but it came back rather suddenly. I had a terrible feeling when I had not heard from him in months, but I did not have the means or inclination to trouble his family for an update. Finally, I received an email via an email blast from his daughter that he had passed away. It was devastating to learn, but I was so thankful to know what had happened. Social media and the blogosphere are weird developments in our social universe. You develop good, durable friendships online now, but there’s so much uncertainty how that plays out in the long run.

    At any rate, here’s to many happy years for you and Joe. If there’s anything that could extend and improve one’s days on this beautiful planet, it’s gardening!

    • Hi Saucy. Thank you for sharing your personal story — and you certainly hit on a key issue. When is I started blogging, I felt as if I had moved into a community where we were all neighbors. Every comment reminds me of a neighborly conversation over the fence. Withe each passing year, we learn more about one another — and although we may not all meet, these relationships are just that. Relationships. Have a wonderful 2020!

  3. I’m touched by all you’ve been thinking about, Kevin. It’s rare that people, even good friends or family members, are willing to talk about end-of-life provisions, other than to make often vague trust and estate references. How one is feeling about concerns doesn’t come up much. I haven’t given any thought to making provision for my blog, but I do need to think of a final step. Your planning is very generous. We form bonds across the blogosphere, and I think it’s very kind to be respectful of those friendships. May your preparations bring you peace of mind. And blessings to you and Joe for a healthy decade.

    • Hi Debra. I actually detest all of those end-of-life conversations. I — and I don’t think I’m along here — do not want to consider the inevitable for myself or for others, but if I had a choice, I’d opt to go first. Still, it’s one of those things that must be thought and spoken of — and I like the idea of having some control over how I go out. I wish all the best for you and yours in 2020 and in the years ahead.

  4. Kevin, Ever since I had cancer twenty years ago, I’ve felt that coming to terms with the fact that our lives really are finite helps us to live them more fully and meaningfully. I’m behind you in getting all my affairs in order for those who will have to clean up after me (mostly my younger sister); thanks for the reminder about including my digital life in the process.

    • Hi Jean. I couldn’t agree more with you about living our lives fully and meaningfully. Like you, I’ve had my scares — and all of it does impact a person in so many ways. When it comes to our digital lives, personal FB pages are one thing — but blogging and other social media platforms have such a long reach, oftentimes developing relationships with people we never meet. (Like us.) That all being said, I hope we all of a way to go before someone has to manage our digital existence. Be well! Stay warm!

  5. First I thought “you are killing me” with this blog! But, I do give you heaps of credit for thinking this through. Second I am thinking we are not that old!!

    • Hi Maria! LOL — I have a hard time thinking we’re that old, too — and then I see my reflection in a window and wonder: Who is that gray-haired man? 🙂

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