Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Death By Numbers

On Tuesday, last week, when we arrived home from our weekend in Salt Rock, Sheila asked if we knew the man next door had died. She indicated with her head which neighbour. It was not the old man next door and although it would have been a shock if he had died, it would have been less shocking, because although he is a fit old man, he is old. The neighbour who died is 52, but has a son of about 11 and a wife who is much younger than him.

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We know of so many people who have died this year. The first person who died was a customer of Mark's who moved down to the Wilderness to be with his children. He "retired" although he was quite old. He was only down there for a couple of months and then died beginning of January. He had kidney problems, I think. Then a couple of days later a "friend" of Marks from when he was at school had a heart attack and died. Mark went to the funeral in Pietersburg, apparently he also has two very young girls. Chad and I will never let Mark live it down, because he unfriended the guy on Facebook, because he was openly racist and apparently posted really bad things on Facebook and Mark did not want to be associated with racist things/people, but then went to the funeral. Turns out his Gardener, a black man, was one of the pall bearers, they were very close. Stranger than fiction.

They always say death comes in threes and after hearing about those two deaths, I had a strong feeling that someone close to me would die and Pluto suddenly collapsed and died on the 21 January. That was three deaths in one month. The superstitious three.

A few months later, we heard that the old man from the unit next door was found dead in his car down the road from work. He had a heart attack. Felt strange, pulled over, must have phoned someone and then got back in the car and died. Fortunately, he had the foresight to pull over and not carry on driving causing more fatalities.We didn't really know him other than that he was a miserable person, him and his daughter who owns the business. All they do is complain all day about petty things and if one of our customer's park in their parking bays, they verbally attack the person and then send rude emails to our landlord, so no loss, shock or concern there for us.

About a month ago another customer of Marks died of a heart attack or heart failure. He did have heart problems and was about 60, I would say, but also may have looked older than he was. They woke up in the morning, the wife went to make tea, brought him his tea and found him dead in bed.

Another customer, who has been a customer since almost day one of Mark opening his business, has been having renal dialysis for almost as long as what we have known him for, he phoned Mark a couple of months ago and said he had a stroke and then phoned the week before last and said his wife died. They were old and had retired years ago. The wife had a hip op and then died of some heart condition. So if we added the man from the unit next door that would have made the superstitious threesome.

Then it was the man next door, so scratch the work neighbour out, because he was nothing, but a massive thorn in our side and there is the next superstitious threesome. That was not to be so. On Thursday morning, Mark heard that his sister's friend died during the early hours of the morning. She was 42, had flu or bronchitis, she went to bed, her 14 year old daughter found her unconscious, ambulance took her to hospital and she died.

Mark and I have become hypochondriacs since hearing about all these deaths (ok we were before, but even more so now), especially Mark. Chad told him the other night that he needs to get his sh$t together, Mark thought he meant his insurance policies and money, but he meant dieting and exercising and all his stressing and shouting at the staff when they mess up. It did get us talking and thinking, that we do have to get our sh$t together. If Mark and I had to die together, which is a huge possibility in a country with such a high road death rate as ours, what would Chad do, he may be 18, but dealing with the red tape of death is very overwhelming, necessary, but overwhelming. If Chad was left on his own, he would not know where to start. Mark said I need to get a file together with our policies and wills and who to call etc and put it in a safe place. It seems ominous, but death is a  reality, we know that. One day you wake up not knowing that your life will be destroyed forever. When I mentioned it to Chad, he said "good idea - I would just phone Dean" {family friend}. This has obviously crossed Chad's mind, that he has thought of who he would phone. He also knows that Dean would be there for him and would do whatever was needed, even if we don't see him often, he would be Chad's choice to call. He would know what to do to help Chad and he would willingly help Chad and do everything needed to do, but making it easier and less complicated with everything in one place would make it less stressful.

Whilst discussing this, Mark realised that if I had to die, he would not know where to start either. I still have some sort of an idea where everything is, obviously, the business would have to be closed down and I would not even attempt to try and carry on without Mark, because he is hands on. He can't even leave it for a day and some drama happens. If his customers don't get to speak to him, they carry on like he ran away with their cars. To finish up all the work and tie up lose ends will be a very stressful nightmare. The one good thing about not being married, I could just shrug my shoulders and walk away, no one would have a claim on me. What Mark never realised and what I also did not think of is that I have passwords to everything. All of our emails; our server; our e-filing and everything for work. I don't even think he would be able to think of what the passwords could be. I used to have a set of passwords for his stuff and a set for my stuff, but since password security has had to become so strong, the passwords I have, I can't even think of when I have forgotten them... and I do often. I do have them saved somewhere for when I forget, but no one knows where they are except me and I would literally take them with to my grave. Mark said he would not know where to start with taxes etc, that part is easy, dump everything in a box and hand it to our Accounting firm and they will do it all - they will be able to just sort out the mess and do it. It is the rest that is not as easy.

Mark has lots of policies, so I know where to start with that, but he does not even know what policies I have. I don't even know if I have beneficiaries on my one, which I am busy sorting out. We decided I should get another one, in case something happens to me and Chad is still at school or studying. At my age it is becoming quite a nightmare to get one. Mark also wants to get a policy to cover Chad's car. Although it was not brand new out the box, it was very expensive and he had to finance it. Contrary to Chad's belief that Mark has a secret bank account somewhere with loads of money in it, he does have savings, but not enough to pay cash for a pre-owned, but rather expensive car. There is also death taxes, that you have to pay and would Mark's Estate cover death taxes. We found out about death taxes from the old man next door, when his wife died two weeks before Clint. When the old man found out how much he had to pay in death taxes, he decided to rather enjoy his money whilst alive.

Seriously not a nice topic to discuss and face, but a reality and we do have to sort out our sh$t and not leave Chad with even more stress, even though that was not the sh$t Chad was referring to, it did get us thinking. After all Cholesterol is the silent killer and how silent is it, when Mark and I both know we have high cholesterol. I have at least tried to change my eating habits and tried to be a bit more healthy, but went on such a bender this weekend and last weekend, eating cupcakes, burgers; sweets and bread. I am feeling it now and yesterday I was so out of breath and felt really awful.

I have told Mark that I do not want a funeral and he was all like imagine what people will think and I said imagine what I will think, besides when have I ever cared what people think. They can do a cremation in the cheapest coffin and Chad can take my funeral policy and blow it on whatever makes him happy; definitely not on food and drinks for other people. We also have this joke that when people say to him, Dianne would want you to be happy, he must know that I am standing there glaring at him saying I do not want you to be happy. Anyway I have that covered, if I die before Spike, if Mark meets someone else he will have to get rid of Spike. I cannot even sit next to Mark and Spike growls under his breath and pushes between us and I am next in the chain of command in Spike's life, so good luck to anyone trying to take my place.

Spike In His Rightful Place - Or So He Thinks

Talking about funerals and condolences, after Sheila told me our neighbour died, I phoned the wife, because phoning to give your condolences is just the right thing to do or is it. That was the weirdest conversation ever. A quick whatsapp message saying "hey heard your husband died - hope you ok" would have felt more appropriate. She did say he had a heart attack at home on the Thursday morning, apparently had one two weeks before. I asked how her little boy was doing, knowing he is not much older than what Chad was when Clint died and she said sad, very sad. Not to turn this into an English lesson, but honestly, sad is not a word I would use. Clint died 8 years ago and I am not sad about his death even now, Chad was not sad at the age of almost 10. We are heart broken, shocked devastated, but not sad. Sad is when an old man like Mark's grandfather dies, who was old and bed ridden, it was sad that his life came to an end as it should. The father of an 11 year old boy having a fatal heart attack - even Chad said "sad, that is strange" Then the funeral apparently was quite big, cars all over the road. Chad said it sounded like a kid's birthday party. Most of the cars left at 4 and then it became quite a get together in the freezing cold in their Gazebo at the back of the garden until late at night, after 10 at least. I know everyone grieves differently, but all I wanted was for people to leave when it was Clint's funeral. Chad, Mark and I just wanted to be on our own and not have Clint's funeral become the family gathering of get togethers.

And that is the reason why I do not want a funeral... Out of all these deaths, although there has been a lesson to us, to get our stuff in order, the only death that affected me, that broke my already shattered heart was my little Pluto's death. Yes I am more than sad, I am heartbroken and I miss my little dog.

Rest In Peace Pluto, run free with your Clinty.

My Very Special Pluto

Death is not nice, it is a subject that we don't like discussing, especially with our children, but we learnt the very hard way that it is a reality. It is a reality that you don't die of old age, the way the cycle of life is supposed to work. As ominous as what this all sounds it is a reality and I have a feeling this is not the last of the deaths we will be hearing about in the next few weeks. I also have this fear that getting our stuff in order may be a premonition, but we have to overlook it being a premonition and just get it all done and sorted.

Now hopefully Mark and I don't procrastinate about getting everything in order and just get it done and keep it up to date.

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