By Lydia Ramsey
One day as you are approaching the two lane bridge leaving the island where you live, you look up and see an ambulance with lights flashing coming over the top. There is a pick-up truck and a small car in front of the ambulance. If you pull onto the bridge, the ambulance is stuck.
You have barely enough time and space to get off the road and onto the shoulder in order to open a free lane for the mega vehicle. You make your move with a backwards glance at the car behind you-making sure that driver is not about to run into you. The ambulance moves to his left and into the lane you vacated.
The next thing you know, the pick-up truck in front of the ambulance shifts into the open space you created. That idiot is trying to pass the slow car in front of him. With no place else to go, the ambulance is now forced into a squeeze between the truck and the concrete side of the bridge.
The result: the ambulance in all its shining glory is headed straight for you.
The last thing you fear you’ll ever see is the massive yellow vehicle moving at top speed toward you and your small car. All you can do is hold onto the wheel and scream, “Oh Jesus.” (You could have said worse so give yourself some credit for a display of decorum with what might have been your last words.)
Somehow-and you’ll never know how-the ambulance vanishes from your sight. There is no sound of breaking glass or crunching metal. A quick check tells you that you are still breathing and in one piece.
When you finally recover from the fright of your life; you realize that all those plans you had been talking about implementing need to be taken care of now. We never know when the moment of death will come. Don’t leave your family, friends and loved ones wondering about your last wishes.
Have you been putting off writing your last will and testament? Making those unthinkable end-of life plans?
We all know that we are going to die someday, but no one really believes it will happen before we reach the so-called “Golden Years.” After all your health is good; your parents lived well into their 90’s. So what’s the rush?
You lead a busy life and simply don’t have time to get immersed in another seemingly unnecessary and time-consuming process. When you think about all the tasks that entails, you are overwhelmed.
So you return to your original thinking: you don’t have to do anything about your final arrangements for the time being. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” For now you need to focus on the present-not the here-after.
Wrong. Take charge now.
* Contact lawyers, accountant, brokers-anyone who has access to the skills and expertise to guide you along.
* Discuss your funeral services with your clergy. Select the music and the scriptures.
* Make a list of all the tasks that you need to do to leave things in order.
* Make another list of what others will have to do after you’re gone.
* Let your family and those closest to you know what you have planned and how they can access that information. Your worries may be over, but theirs will have just begun if they are left searching for the keys to your kingdom.
You may not want to share this private information with all of your family members. Select those you are closest to and whom you trust to honor your wishes and follow your directions.
Your family and friends can grieve without having to wonder about your last wishes and search for critical information. The trade-off for you-although you won’t be around to experience it-is that you will be remembered more fondly than if you had left them in a tangled web. This is your last display of good etiquette.
Lydia Ramsey is a leading authority on business etiquette. She is a professional speaker, sought after trainer and the author of several books including Manners That Sell, Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners and Business Etiquette 101 – Telephone Courtesy. Based in historic Savannah, Georgia, she travels the globe, offering keynotes and seminars on business etiquette, professional conduct and customer service to individuals and organizations. You can learn more about Lydia by visiting http://www.lydiaramsey.com or you can call her at 912-598-9812.