Sixteen bags of garbage. Oh, excuse me. It wasn’t garbage. It was all stuff that would come in handy someday.
That’s what we found when I helped my neighbor clean out her mother’s house. Forty years of saving stick-on bows, aluminum pans, and extra sets of dishes. My neighbor had wheedled and cajoled, trying to get a head start and purge the place before her mother passed. But the old matriarch wasn’t interested, waving a hand away and saying, “I don’t have the energy, honey. Do it after I’m gone.”
Mostly the bags were filled with garbage we’d found festooned between financial papers and coupons that had expired in ’92. But there was one rare find.
A box. Inside were love letters between my friend’s mother and father during the war. And home-made cards she’d crayola’d as a kid. She held in her hands the knittings of her family’s love that had made it all the way into the future.
Things have changed. We rarely write letters on paper anymore. I love getting them, but I’m guilty about not writing. Instead I use technology. That’s why a recent news article popped a light bulb over my noggin.
Some families are bemoaning the privacy policies of internet sites. If you use on-line bill
pay, internet banking, or communicate with e-mails, those accounts aren’t accessible to heirs after you die. Your Facebook, Pinterest, or Google account can be shut down with the proper certificates, approved paperwork and sometimes legal wrangling, but you don’t have access to content. For example, if nothing is done, those e-bills will go on forever, piling up in the deceased’s Yahoo mail, but the family won’t know anything about it because they can’t access the account.
This is birthing new legislation, but for now, attorneys are recommending leaving a list of usernames and passwords (and instructions) with your will. EX: Download the family pictures and delete Vegas Weekend pictures from PhotoBucket.
But I had a better idea for this man-made perpetuity.
With a little creative scheduling, I could blog far into the future, even though I’d actually be singing in the heavenly choir. Long after I’m gone I could wish the kids Happy Birthday each year. I could schedule posts 50 years from now to nag my great-great something-or-others into doing better in school, getting jobs, or going to church more often. Messages from beyond the grave.
When I shared this with the kids, they shrugged, telling me technology would change by then. Besides, they’d prefer I leave a letter. Something they could hold. A missive with my funny-looking Rs and loopy Ys. A note that crinkles and makes noise when folded and refolded. Maybe even one that carries a scent.
I know what they mean. I love holding my Dad’s teensy-tiny Bible. He rarely talked about his beliefs, but I learned so much from the underlined passages and notes he made in the margins.
Things change. Things stay the same. So I’ll write my afterlife messages in a letter. And I plan on passing it along in my Dad’s tiny-little Bible. Now if I could just figure out how to add the scent of homemade bread.