What If... Delaying Writing Your Will Could Keep the Bad Things From Happening?

Submitted 4 months ago
Created by
Kerry Krieger Clifford

I did something hard this morning. It was important, but kind of terrible. I sat down with my lawyer and signed my Last Will and Testament. 


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Afterwards, I came home and slept for about two hours. Thinking about dying is exhausting work, especially since I’ve been in something of a blissful state of denial for most of the summer. I’m on a break from treatment, but will likely be starting back in September or October. While on break, I’ve been living my best life in every way I can think of. We’ve gone on fun trips; I’ve ridden in the Point to Point; foster dogs have been coming into and going out of my house like a real life version of the movie classic, “Hotel for Dogs.” I parked my worries and sadness and enjoyed the greatest of what I have in my little world.

But, while denial certainly has its place in helping me enjoy my time with my kids, friends, and family, there is also work that needs to be done. I pop in on my therapist every couple of weeks, and we pull out the shoebox I keep in the back of my mind that holds all of the bullshit that comes with a terminal illness. We take items out one by one, examine them, deal with some of them, throw some away, and put a few back in to wait for another day. After an hour, on goes the lid and the box gets tucked back into the farthest recesses of my head, right between the lyrics to the 90’s rock ballad “More Than Words” and the address for the house we moved out of when I was 7 years old.

During our last session, we talked about how I can better take care of my kids. There’s lots I do each day for them, and we are making as many plans as we can while we can. But one thing I can do to continue to take care of them once I’m physically incapable of doing anything more for them is to make sure that the material stuff is sorted out. So I made an appointment with a lawyer. Some questions came up that I needed to talk to the kids’ dad about, and for the millionth time in ten years, I thanked God that he is such a caring guy and wonderful father. We met up, came to some conclusions, generated some more questions, and enjoyed a yummy lunch at Three Tomatoes. Nothing like good Italian food to ease the awkwardness of talking about death.

You may be asking, “why would you spend time during such a glorious summer to work on something so macabre?” The answer is this: because I don’t feel sick. It’s easier right now for me to think about all of this in the hypothetical (which – and not to get preachy here – we should ALL be doing) rather than to think about it during chemo when it would just feel too damn real and terrifying.

Gah. Such heavy stuff. Let’s think of some other hypotheticals we can make plans for, shall we? What if you won the lottery? What if this adorable foster puppy sleeping beside me never gets adopted? What if the Windsor Yellow Jackets have yet another undefeated football season? (That one was suggested by my son.) What if Tom Haushalter gets all of the Lego he’s ever wished for and builds a life-sized train depot to go with the choo choo in his back yard? What if his Cherry Clifford kombucha is the next Heady Topper?

Polly. Foster puppy, dreaming.

What if, right now as I type, there is a brilliant scientist in a lab somewhere discovering that cancer cells can be destroyed with just the right combination of creemees, donuts, and pinot grigio?

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