Monday, 5 July 2010

Where There Is a Will

You may recall a year or so ago, back when I was first diagnosed, Nick and I were rushing around Harley Street getting scans and generally trying to make sense of it all and, between surgeries, Nick asked me if I had made a will.

I’ve been avoiding that question ever since. I know it makes sense but making a will just never quite seems to get to the top of my list of priorities. I did go to WH Smith and buy a ready-made-do-it-yourself will kit. It sat amidst the pile of papers on my table for months. Every time I caught a glimpse of it my heart sank.

I took it to Australia. I figured that, since it was his idea in the first place, Nick would be kind enough to hold my hand whilst I filled it out. Ha! After that the sight of the damned thing distressed me even more. It became a physical symbol of just how on my own I am.

But I couldn’t in good conscience just chuck it out. I mean, every sensible person has a will don’t they? Especially those sensible people who have had a potentially fatal illness. So I packed it in my suitcase and flew it all the way back to London. I shuffled it back in amongst all the other difficult to deal with documents on the table.

Today I came across Gloss Legal, an online will making service. It is so simple, a matter of filling out a straightforward step-by-step form. First off they ask you to name your executors. They ask if you have any particular items that you would like to leave to particular people. I have quite a few paintings and photographs that I know some members of my family will like. Then it asks if you want to make any cash gifts to charities or specific people. Next it asks you to divvy up the remainder of your estate, naming the beneficiaries and ascribing the percentage of your loot that they will receive. Finally it asks if you would like to be buried or cremated and if you hanker for any special funeral arrangements. Obviously, since my friend’s funeral last week, this has been consuming my thoughts. I had already mentally composed a list of songs.

The great thing is that it is all saved as one goes along. I could go back and add or change things as they occurred to me. The website claims it will take 20 minutes and cost £39. In the end it took about an hour-and-a-half and cost £69. That is still a small price to pay to get one particularly gnarly problem dealt with.


Anonymous said...

One does wonder sometimes about 'nick's opportune moment for suggesting The Will...Thank God life gave you a wake up call. You really are a special lady, who shares her experiences and learning of 'how to deal with fucking fucking fucking breast cancer'. I am sorry I have posted some rather odd comments on your post - please would you forgive me? Thank you for this post. In the forseeable future all I can see is that I shall commit suicide because I have been bullied and harrassed by my Head of Department before, during, in between, and whilst having to deal with one of the most inquantafible diseases around. I tried to do my best for everyone by fighting to save my life. That effort was obviously taken in vain, as there is nothing I can do to appease my Head of Department nor my employer. Paradoxical - on the one hand I want to live and have done everything to keep myself alive - on the other hand I wish to die because I've been bullied, harassed and discriminated against. I wish you all the very Best Jessica. take care now, love, id x

canalily said...

Dear id,

I am very sorry to hear that you are feeling so down. But I am not qualified to help you.

Please make an appointment with your GP and tell her how you are feeling. She can offer you help with psychiatry, psychotherapy and anti-depressant drugs.

If you are having difficulties with the people in your life. Coda meetings may be a great source of support. There is a link to the Coda website at the end of my recent post.

I do hope that you will help yourself by getting appropriate help and support.


Anonymous said...

@id, I also suggest you see your GP. They WILL be able to help you.

I was depressed a long time (I thought I was just in a rut) but when I started having suicidal thoughts, my husband urged me to see my GP.

She assessed me with a paper quiz there and then and we talked about how I felt.

She put me on 10mg Citalopram which was increased to 20mg. I later came back down to 10mg.

I've been on anti-depressants for four years and they have transformed my life.

I feel like I am 'normal' person and that I have returned to the land of the living. I have my sense of humour back and I am laid back whereas I was usually uptight.

I wished I'd started them a lot sooner but I felt embarrassed that I couldn't fix my own problems.

I also worried that the pills would make me stop caring, and thay I'd not care about that!

Instead, I do get highs and lows but not to debilitating extremes. I tend to react more intellectually to things. I feel that have greatly contributed to my handling my diagnosis and treatment so well.

If you're interested, I scanned the GP's quiz and you can see it here:

I hope this helps,