More Than Money
Issue #22

Money and Death

Table of Contents

“Money and Death: The Double Whammy”

When 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).

I 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.

Over 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, is gone.

The 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.

--Christopher Mogil, editor  

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