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Passport, papers and other proxies.

In 2002 my Dad travelled from the USA without a passport. Why? He lost his passport, most likely it was stolen and somehow he came home with a driver's licence. Most of us non-superhero types, need a passport to travel. You need a passport to travel if you're dead. A body requires a passport. We waited for more than a week in Trinidad to bury my Uncle who had died in the Bahamas. His passport couldn't be found. When my Stepmom passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, my Dad had to get a birth certificate, hers did not turn up, despite much searching.

This is a post about death. This is a post about considering a certainty. Life is fatal. Given current technologies, in this version of reality, we are, all of us, going to die.

Part of the hysteria in the pandemic is the numbers of deaths, another source has been when young people have succumbed. Much of the narrative in the developed west centres on cults of youth and beauty, age defiance and fitness. Death is something set aside. If we've grown up outside of extended families, where we didn't know old people or in situations where people close to us haven't died, it's easy to push the thought of death aside. It's portrayed as this vague terrifying thing that happens to other people. Old people, ill people, unfit people, people who swim with sharks...

Birth and death are the certainties of life. If you've been born, you'll die. Given that certainty, best make some preparations.

Conversations - Do you have a health proxy and a medical proxy document. In lieu of a legal document, your next of kin will be the one making decisions on your behalf if you are unable to so do. Do you have a de facto proxy you haven't had the conversation with? Is your partner not your next of kin? Does someone expect you to act as their proxy and you aren't their next of kin? If you have elderly parents and are one of several siblings, has your family had the discussions? The time to have conversations is when people are healthy. In emergencies, it can get crazy and people can act unreasonably. Think about what you want and don't want. Have a conversation.

Papers and passwords - You know where everything is. Mostly. Your papers, passwords, keys, teams, projects etc., etc. If someone has to come in and sort that stuff out, would they even be able to start? If they needed to notify your teams, reconcile your banking, could they do it? If you run your own business, do you have a contact list of customers and collaborators? Who should be notified on your team? It can get real, real fast if you're the only one with access.

Other keys - If you live alone, does someone have keys to your house? Being ill behind a locked door and gates and alarms would be its own kind of hell.

Death is scary in part because we don't know exactly what will happen. Maybe taking care of some of the boring details, necessary paperwork, scary conversations might take some of the almighty terror away. My intention is not to climb into a pit of despair and invite you in. I'm not saying make yourself a target for robbery or hacking. I am saying that someone should be able to start somewhere and have some kind of pathway through, instead of standing in the forest of your paperwork while they're also grieving you. Conversely, if you're the one needing to make a way, let your person leave you a map of some kind. Oh, and write a will.



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