I was a child I was never told about two things that would
forever change my life. The first was that my mother was
dying from Hodgkin's Disease.
The second was that the money my mother would have inherited
would be left to me (along with my siblings and uncle).
was terribly unprepared for my mother's death, and still
grieve her loss. And while the money was a welcome surprise,
and I was grateful for the lack of strings attached to
it, I still regret the lack of any guidance about how
to deal with it.
the years, I've learned that my experience is not unique,
but rather a reflection of larger social patterns. Death
and money are both taboo in our culture. How do we honestly
face our own mortality and that of others we love? Confronting
death fills many of us with intense and uncomfortable
feelings: fear of our own death, grief of the loss of
a loved one, or for some, relief that a family member
in pain or decay, or who was a troublesome personality,
people whose stories fill this issue have stepped beyond
this dual taboo. Included are stories of people who are
actively preparing their children to receive money after
their death, people who are adjusting to the loss of a
mate at the same time that they are learning how to manage
their wealth on their own, people who are relishing the
possibilities of making their death a gift to the world,
and even a (true) story of someone who read about his
own death in the newspapers and rethought his plans for
what to do with his money. I'm grateful for the visions
these stories present. While the choices these people
make are often very different, their stories show me that
death can be faced with grace, spunk, and creativity.
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