I was struggling with the title of this post because I have so much to write. A lot of it is personal, but how could anyone write a blog post without mentioning the dramatic changes that have come to our lives and the entire world.
I’ve had some dramatic changes recently, in losing my two oldest siblings within four months. My oldest brother had a stroke nine years before passing and he succumbed to complications last October. But the shocker was my sister. Even though she was 16 years older than me, and I am no spring chicken, she had dreams and visions and plans for the future, but she left here suddenly.
I was prompted to write today because I was going through some of my sister’s pictures that I took from her place when my brothers and I cleaned out her apartment. As I went through the photo albums, I pulled out the pictures of her and decided to throw the rest of the photos away. I started thinking that we accumulate all of this “stuff” only for people to toss it in the trash after we die. My sister never had any children, and a lot of her photos have no meaning to me. She took oversees trips, she had pictures of her ex-husbands family and I am sure some of those pictures would bring back nice memories for her, but now that she is gone, those photos have no meaning.
Ah, life…we struggle to make a name or not, accumulate wealth or not and then we die and family get’s what is left. My sister named me as a secondary representative to handle her estate in her Will, second to my brother who just passed away. She didn’t have time to change anything and I’m sure she was not thinking she was going to die. The process of probate has been a nightmare. My sister did not have much money and so far I have spent almost $1,000 dollars just to be named executor of her estate and file the paperwork with the courts. And I am still not done! Ah, life…and then death.
It’s important to have everything together as far as estate planning and a Will. I think by the age of 30, that should be done. It makes it so much easier for those who are left behind. My sister wanted to be buried, but she borrowed against her Life Insurance Policy and once repaid, it left very little to bury her the way she wanted. I know it’s controversial for Christians, but I made the decision to have her cremated. The truth is I had no choice. It was all I could afford to do. So if you want certain things done at the time of death, make financial provision for it.
My sister was a bit of a hermit. My father had her and my oldest brother who died in 2007 before he married my mother. Together my mom and dad had six more children. So there were eight of us. Now there are are only five of us. After I moved to Florida, I learned my sister had been abused as a child, more than once. The first time was by a cousin and the other time, she never said. Once she told me that, I finally understood why she acted so strange over the years and stayed to herself. She always stayed away for long periods of time and then we would see her again. Even while living here in Florida that is the way she functioned. The sad part is she was never healed. And she died alone. The paramedics said that she was probably lying on the floor for three or more days. Her apartment complex finally did a wellness check because she was late paying her rent and she was never late. Plus a package was delivered and it sat outside of her door for several days.
I know this is a sad story, but I am sharing it because sometimes we never let people in. Not even our family and then we come to a tragic end. My sister was planning a move to California. But I remember when she told me the Lord spoke to me and told me “that is not going to happen.”. I just assumed it meant she would change her mind. Not that she would die. Her walls were lined with boxes for years, planning for a move that never materialized. I guess I am sharing this because it’s now or never for some of us. Either we are going to get in place or get out of stuff that we shouldn’t be in, or just forfeit the promise. Don’t die without seeing your promise!
Hebrews 11:13, NASB: “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13, NLT:
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