Today, I prepared my Living Will & Testament. I had been meaning to draft this up for years, started it, and never finished, but today–it is done. I have all of the necessary mentions, made one of my best friends the Executor and both she and my mom as primary and secondary beneficiaries. Why one of my best friends and not my mom? We have discussed this, my Mom and I. Should I go before her, she is not what one would call a stable person emotionally. She would be too overwhelmed with sadness and grief and probably not the one to execute things accordingly. As grim as death is, in the event of the death of your child, plans still have to be made, funeral arrangements need to be completed, the gathering of souls and notifying them as well must be carried out and well… to be frank, she would not be able to get this done.
My best friend, on the other hand, handles things efficiently and does so in a way that many cannot. Plus, it will not be her first time dealing with death and dying and head-mastering the arrangements. I hate tasking either of them with this, but it must be done. Although I am what most would call young in age, death does not care about that. When I am called by God, I will be called and age will be the last thing on God’s mind. While diligently compiling the list of belongings and making sure Jernee will be cared for and loved when I am gone, I became a bit emotional myself. To think of one’s own death is quite macabre, however, as I stated earlier, this is necessary. I have had a number of peers die “untimely deaths,” and I am certain there will be more. It is not my intention to leave my family wondering what my wishes are nor is it my intention to leave them solely responsible for funding my homegoing.
The nearly three-page document lacks nothing. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb and I am pleased with every item bullet-pointed, including the want to be cremated and have my ashes relegated to my mother who may do what she likes with them at her discretion. I requested a small funeral–family and close friends only. I do not see a reason to have a mass gathering for the purpose of me leaving this earth. The more people at this event, the more my mom and best friend will have to deal with and I intend for their burdens to be light. They will have enough on their plates. Should my Mom go before me, I am the Executor and her primary beneficiary and I will adhere to her wishes as she has laid them out for me. The same goes for my best friend. We talk about these matters, better to do so than not be somewhat prepared.
The only thing left to do now is to obtain signatures and get the Notary Public at my credit union to notarize the document. I will try to accomplish this in the next week or two. I can let out a sigh of relief because after the fall in the shower, nearly two years ago, the one thing bleating in the back of my mind like an untamed billygoat is, “you need a Living Will. Get it done, Tre.”
And now, it is.
nicknames aren’t what most aspire to.
we’re often saddled with descriptions
that lessen our personality,
but “the little Monster” suits Jernee.
on walks, she sets her eyes
curiously on nature’s green gifts,
sniffing out the elite versus the subpar.
she has a system.
I am watchful, yet patient.
I admire her investigative process, her
obsession with marking her territory.
I give her space to explore
crumbled earth between her toes,
the dust settling on her paws
becomes a lickable treat after two miles.
we break for hydration and deep breaths,
neither of us — as young as we feel.
during Winter, the dew-drenched grass
is slick and tricky but doesn’t trip
the quick pace of a four-legged athlete.
she glides through the sea of green
life is less difficult with her around.
the walks we take, they are glue
for pieces of me prone to breaking and
in need of constant repair.
she senses my love for them, for her.
in every step, I witness a pet
who is confident in her role as
caregiver, as companion.
I don’t have to be anyone else.
she gives me space to adapt
whenever adaptation is necessary.
I favor the weekend morning walk.
we stroll and strut and spend
our time wisely.
just us, the wind, God, and the clouds…
and the knowledge of a connection
between a woman and her dog.
My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ©Edith Wharton
This is my eleventh year with Jernee by my side. You may hear people say, “I don’t know who rescued who,” but I do know and I can say without one shadow of doubt, that with her — I am much better. With her, I am alive.
Babies & Their Bellies
I have this thing for pregnant bellies. I love them! For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the wonder of a woman’s belly — how it can be home to a miracle growing inside. Currently, at work, there are two co-workers who are pregnant. Both are carrying boys. I have an army of boys in my family, little soldiers who get into mischief and carve out places in this world with their seeking fingers. I connect with children, even while in their mother’s womb, we bond.
A few weeks back, my co-worker (the one who is due in May) was walking up the hallway toward our front desk and I was heading back from the radiologists’ reading department and we sort of met in the middle. I calmly asked, “May I?” as I pointed to her belly and she smiled as bright as anyone could and almost shouted, “Sure!” I placed my right hand just above her navel and began talking to her little one, granting him blessings straight from my heart. I thanked her and shortly after when we were both settled back into the groove of our positions, she called me to let me know that her little one started to kick as soon as she walked away.
I laughed, then smiled. At the end of my shift, I welcomed a few tears. The beauty of something as monumental as bringing another human being into this world hit me without my knowledge. I said softly to myself, “I wonder if they know that history is beginning in their bellies — they’re carrying the world.” I think of how things would have been had I brought my own little one into this world — if I ever could and a variety of emotions hit me at once, from every angle. I used to think that I was useless, that if I was not giving this world a part of me, that I did not matter. I used to believe that without a child of my own, I was not fit to be called “woman.”
Now, when I see this co-worker, she smiles. I ask her, “How’s the little one?” and she always says, “He’s busy growing. He’s good.” Her belly is shifting from a basketball to a combination of a football and beach-ball. She’s all belly, at a quick glance, nothing else seems to be shifting.
My other co-worker has baby written all over her. The sweet boy growing inside of her is making his presence known. It seems as though the little one is saying, “Get ready, world! I am going to be nothing you expected, but something that you need!” I have not given her belly a talking to, not yet, but I will — if allowed. I look at my own belly, wondering if it is fit to grow a miracle like most women — if it can create change. And, I think it can, it is the completing part of it all that I am told would be problematic. I want to reach out and call to the little soothsayer, sage, or savior nearing what will be my co-worker’s last trimester. I want to tell him to be all that he can be and so much more.
I watch her, my co-worker (her due date is sometime in April), she races about our work-place on a mission. It is hard to catch her in slow motion. She has so much energy and I cannot help but feel like instead of exhaustion and swollen feet and frequent bathroom breaks and odd tastes in food, her little one is far more mature and is simply settled in the womb until he is called away. I have never seen someone still as active for ten straight hours at six months pregnant before. She is nonstop. I feel as though her little boy is saving the best for his debut. He will be a reckoning. He will be a force.
We better get ready.
Both of these women are doing something I have chosen not to, that I, in the grand scheme of things, cannot. To say that I am moved each day that I get a chance to see them would be an understatement. I have an incredible amount of respect for them. After all, they are carrying their own little worlds inside. Each of them preparing for motherhood at their own pace.