Monday, April 04, 2011

I Can't Miss You If You Won't Go

My wife was recently chatting with an elderly woman that lives alone and has no living descendants. The lady explained that she had recently redone her estate planning because the siblings that had been designated to handle her estate's affairs had passed away.

Lacking descendants of her own, the woman had asked a niece and a nephew, children of two different siblings, to accept the positions previously held by their parents. Neither of these people live in the area, but both accepted the invitation.

The nephew and his wife flew in from out of state to visit for a few days. They met the professional people that handle the lady's estate issues and signed the necessary documents. As they visited in the lady's home prior to their departure, the nephew's wife complimented the woman on her taste and specifically noted a number of the woman's belongings that she would love to have in her own home after the woman's passing.

At first the lady was a bit shocked by this discussion. But she shrugged and figured that it was only natural. Besides, it was meant as a compliment.

At a later date, the woman's niece visited, met the estate professionals and signed the paperwork. As they visited in the lady's home, the woman asked her niece if there was anything she saw in the home that she would like to have. After all, designating things like that in advance can help avoid disagreements among the survivors.

The niece looked at her aunt and replied that one thing she would like most in the home is to see her aunt living there comfortably. The 'things' in the home were quite unimportant to the niece compared to her relationship with her aunt.

It is true that none of us gets out of this world alive and that none of us can take any of our temporal belongings with us. It is prudent to prepare for our eventual demise. If you haven't had to deal with the disposition of a deceased loved one's estate, it is likely that you will at some point have that opportunity. It is wise to be prepared.

But the way we perceive the elderly among us is the basis for how we treat them. If we see them as just biding their time until they pass from this world, this will be reflected in our relationship with them. It is unlikely that we will see these individuals the way God sees them.

This is true even if we are the elderly involved. If we are just waiting to die, we will treat ourselves accordingly. We will fail to perceive the immense value that God sees in us (see D&C 18:10).

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