This week is going to be uncomfortable for some of us. Talking about our will and who we want to take our children if we pass is super hard for many of us. I’m just going to come out and say it: this sucks.
But it has to be done. It’s part of our responsibilities as a parent. And discomfort is a call to grow and change. We can see this week as our chance to finally get this obligation off our to-do list. So let’s start out at the beginning and look at our “whys.”
Why have you been hesitant to complete your will/trust? Take a few moments to figure out your why.
Now ask yourself why you are going to move forward with it now. Take a minute to write about it.
I only recently found out that when deciding who we want our children to go to if we pass that it is encouraged for us to have a list of 4 different people/families (with our first choice as #1). This was a shocker for me. It’s hard enough coming up with one let alone 4.
Spend some time today thinking about those 4 people/families in your own heart and mind. It doesn’t have to be an outside discussion, just one that you feel comfortable with inside your own being. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about this. Write down your list of potential people. There might be some emotions to work through today, and that’s okay. Nothing is happening today other than us thinking about it in our own hearts and minds. Talk about it with a neutral party if that helps you. This is just the first step in the process. There’s nothing final about a brainstorm. It’s the beginning not the end.
Today is a practical day. Look at your calendar and map out a timeline for when you want to complete your will/trust. List research days, deadlines, etc. Mapping it out can help make it come to life.
If you’re following along with the Guided Journal timeline for this, my personal deadline is going to be by the end of May 2019, specifically May 28th. That is the day I have marked down to turn in our will/trust to our lawyer. Come up with a deadline that works for you, write it down, and make it happen.
Let’s take a moment today to write about why this is difficult for us. Acknowledging our mortality is hard enough in our culture…talking about our wishes at the time of our death is even harder. Write about the hard today. Acknowledge it. Get it out. Write about how your heart has changed since becoming a mom. Write about our connection and deep love for our children that makes this hard. Get it on paper. The simple act of writing about it and acknowledging it will help us get to a better spot so we can move forward and take action (i.e. finish our will/trust). It’s a very sensitive subject so talk it out if you need to, too. Process it in a way that works best for you.
Have the Hard Discussion
You know which one I mean. The one where you have to talk about who your kids would live with if you die. It sucks. It’s a moment where we have to face our own mortality and it’s enough to make many of us start to panic. It’s talking about worse case scenario stuff and it frightens us. Deep breaths, mama. It’s part of the process.
For those of us who have partners, this discussion can bring up all the truths. We might not want our kids to go with say our sister-in-law’s family, but our SIL might be on our partner’s list of people they trust. Then comes all the “whys.” “Why don’t you want to choose her, why do you want to choose that person, why don’t you like my list, why don’t you like my family…”And it’s really hard to hear the truth behind hesitations and reasoning when it comes to our kids and “last wishes.” Here is where I would lovingly recommend having a third party involved (like a therapist). It can help some couples prepare for the conversation by talking about it before hand a little at a time. Remember to acknowledge over and over that this is hard, that there are some of our most extreme emotions involved, and that there are going to be disagreements and differences that will need to be worked through.
Write down your thoughts before going into the conversation. Come up with a timeline/plan for when the discussion is going to happen and then make the heart and head space for it.
Take Time to Process
Our culture doesn’t encourage taking time to process, well, anything really. It’s a culture of instant gratification and quickly moving on to the next thing. But this is one topic that needs intention. It requires our time, attention, and focus. Take some time today to process.
Check in with yourself: how are you feeling at this point? Are you comfortable with your choices in your will/trust? Can you see that your answers aren’t set in stone and can change over time as needed? Really try to get some perspective today by writing about how you’re feeling up to this point.