I wrote my will last night…

In bed. In my head. But I will put it down on paper, just as soon as I get up the energy to get up.

Yes, I have some of my affairs in order. Several years ago, I asked my sister to go with me to prepare living trusts. That’s the thing you need if you own property and don’t want your will to go to probate. Probate is a pain in the ass for the person(s) left behind. If I die before my sister (and it’s likely I will, since I’m quite a bit older), she’s already going to have grief and many other pains in the ass, so why not remove some of them, if I can? I also wanted her to have her own trust, to help me in case she’s the first to go—because one never knows, right? I could be an old lady having to deal with it all. So we did the trusts.

But I had never gotten around to doing the will part. That’s where you identify things such as what to do with your personal belongings, your body, whether you want a memorial, etc. I did have a fantasy of what I ‘hoped for’ (Ha!) I pictured myself dying either at home or in some facility nearby. I wanted my sister to take the things that she wanted, and then have a party at my house. Invite my friends. Serve food and alcohol. Play Motown and Santana. Share stories about time spent together. And then choose items from my stuff that they like or need—photos, plants, furniture, kitchen ware, books, art, music. They could enjoy these things, and there would be less for my sister to dispose of.

But unless I die soon—and that is not the desired outcome, either—it’s unlikely that it will go that way. I am planning to move north to be closer to my sister, the only one left of my nuclear family. I know a couple of people there, but most of my friends from SoCal would likely be unable to come. I still want a will to make it easy for my sister to know what to do.

Why did I let this go until 3:00 a.m. last night? Because my own mortality was not actually real to me. In spite of my advancing age (I know: we’re all advancing—but you know what I mean), I’m pretty healthy. The worst thing is that spinal problems have limited my mobility somewhat. But that’s not going to kill me.

What might kill me? The novel coronavirus, that’s what. COVID-19. A global pandemic worse than any I’ve ever seen. If I’ve even seen a global pandemic. Maybe HIV/AIDS. And COVID-19 is a lot easier to transmit than HIV. To contract HIV, one must allow one of only four body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk) into one’s own “portal of entry” (bloodstream, wounds, mucous membranes). Avoid a few behaviors (I’m not going to say simple behaviors, because sexuality is not simple), and if you do, you won’t get HIV. But to get COVID-19, all one has to do is touch something, or breathe.

I touch things constantly. I breathe on a regular basis.

And I see how quickly this disease progression can go. One day you’re healthy. The next day you’re not. The next you’re in the hospital. The next you’re in the ICU. The  day after that, you’re dead. So many dead. Not enough body bags for all the dead. Not enough refrigerated trucks for all the dead. Families trapped at home with their decomposing dead. Unthinkable.

You know what else is dead? Right now, my faith in the democracy of my country. Oh, I’ve always known it was flawed. There’s been racism, sexism, unscrupulous politicians, corporate greed. Two steps forward and one step back throughout our history. Even when we had our first African-American president, young black men and women were being shot dead in the street by police officers who’d promised to protect and serve.

But what has happened to allow a failed ‘businessman’ (and isn’t that an oxymoron)—with six bankruptcies, thievery from charities (CHARITIES!), a draft dodger, a man who says “grab ‘ (women) by the pussy,” who has many sexual assault charges, who makes fun of disabled people and war heroes, who rejects science, who pretends to be Christian, who won’t allow refugees into our country (MY BELOVED GRANDFATHER WAS A REFUGEE, YOU MOTHERFUCKER), who puts children in cages (CHILDREN!), whose stupidity and inaction and obsession with what? his TV ratings! has let COVID-19 ravage our populace, and perhaps worst of all, whose constant buttlicking of business interests that remove environmental protections while climate change takes us all to our ultimate doom—how such a person could become President of the United States I will never understand.

Yes, I know the factors. Voter suppression. Gerrymandering. Russian election interference. Uneducated voters who mostly don’t even know what those clandestine activities are about. They just thought they wanted “something different.” Well, friends, you got it. We all got it. Along with the biggest stock market drop ever. The highest national debt. The most convicted appointees. The most pandemic infections in the world. So much winning.

I saw a meme on Facebook that said ‘Why would one lose a friend over politics? Because it isn’t about politics. It’s about morality.” I don’t want to lose any friends, but it is about morality, or as I think of it, a philosophy of life. One of my UCLA public health professors explained the difference between Republicans and Democrats this way: Republicans believe that this is a country of opportunity for everyone. Everyone starts at 0 and has the same chance to pull themselves up. Democrats say that would be fine if everyone really started at 0 and had the same chances, but they don’t. Some start in the negative numbers and continue to face lifelong barriers. My philosophy of living is that people who have more need to lend a hand to those who have less. Justice, fairness, kindness: that’s my philosophy and my morality, too.

Now I will make my will. I will listen to science over snake oil salesmen. I will self-quarantine because of my age. I will vote (Democrat, of course). And maybe I’ll try to regain hope that my country can still get its head out of its ass—someday.

 

(Art work created or inspired by Shepard Fairey)

44 thoughts on “I wrote my will last night…

  1. Wow! What an inspiring and powerful post. I agree with you in every way. As a student, I just had everything changed on me in the blink of an eye. I am one who sits there yelling at the TV during press conferences when the “president” cuts off a reporter or yells that they asked a “very nasty question”. It makes me sick. What actually made me sick and what I am sick with (truthfully) may indeed be Covid19, as I came down with every symptom listed. I was lucky to be tested, and now, I too sit in self-isolation awaiting my results thinking what if this takes me down? What if I infected others when I didn’t have symptoms. There’s no cure, treatment, and even the resting system is throwing out false negatives, so how am I to be sure I’m in the clear. I am also a Democrat and I pray soon our country is able to thrive and move forward from this whole mess. Take care Lynda! You’ll be in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. People who voted for Trump and still remain blind to his murderous ways just will not understand. I’ll be pulling for you to recover. Stay with your education no matter what! Education is what makes for a progressive society.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Friendship for most people is a combination of affection, loyalty, love, respect, and trust. … Here you go again, it’s so obvious that you do not value friendship.Thank you Good bye Sent from my Galaxy Tab A (2016)

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    • After 40 years of friendship, for me to call out a murderous president should not cause you to say goodbye. You were the one who posted that a friend who disagreed with you was not a real friend. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lynda.. it is too much!! Everything is too much. I am open for technology but I fall under the “late majority” of consumers. I had to learn fast on how to use Canvas and zoom for my work. Everyday I am being bombarded with emails from administrators, colleagues and students. Which one should I prioritize? Yesterday, after a zoom conference with my students I realized that our recording got corrupted. I spent hours and I mean HOURS trying to figure out what did happen and how can fix it. I am very eager type of person when it comes to identify the problem, find a solution and fix it NOW. I feel bother by the “waiting” for things to happen or procrastination. I move on “do not wait for tomorrow if you can to it today!!” Because of my impulsive and analytical mind, I get frustrated when I cannot find the solution for my computer technological challenges.
    My agent who is working on my Roth IRA asked me who do I want to put down as my dependents.. in case if I die. DIE?? of course we are all going to die one day.. but F^#$*%, Lynda, really?? I am putting all this money away for my retirement and in the end I might not even be able to enjoy it after I retire because I may die BEFORE retirement?? Then, comes this diabetic scenario in which I find myself in, it now making me part of the “risk group” in this pandemic S^%*#. Oh great!! As you told me one day, I have never imagine me being considered as part of the “risk group”.. this S^%*# is real.. and it is scary!!
    Then comes the time for me to go to bed. All this week I am feeling afraid to sleep. Maybe because of all this uncertain energy in the air, through the media, in my retirement package and because of my diabetic condition. The word “death” is everywhere and it is starting to affect me profoundly, like you Lynda. It sounds crazy but it is so true. In my thoughts I find myself saying “what if I die while I am sleeping?” I still want to change the world. I still have so much to fight for, including fighting for what I believe it is “moral” and for my “values”. Being to voice of those who are voiceless. Fight for social justice, for numerous problems faced by women and girls (and often, minorities) around the world that limit sexual and reproductive rights and prevent the achievement of autonomy. I guess I will make my will was well. And in my Will, I will designate “friends” to take over my “philosophy” and “morality.” Love and condoms are the answers we need to spread!!

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    • I understand where you’re coming from, girlfriend! So many things have changed our lives because of this virus, it’s overwhelming. Yet we’re still the lucky ones because we are alive! But we certainly are confronting our mortality. I share your values, I plan to keep fighting for them – and I hope one day we see them spread across the planet.

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    • Hi Mrs. Naluce! you are doing great! you are an amazing professor and even though our in person class time was cut short because of COVID you have become one of my favorite professors! I did not know how stressful this transition was for you. I feel your pain but coming from one of your current students you are doing an AWESOME job! Your love and passion for your work shows and it brushes off to all of your students! That is why your classes are always full and people still try to add. Your classes are like the sold out concerts! Your philosophy and morality is passed on to many students! You have left a imprint on all of your students, especially me! You have made me view things in a different way as well as making me feel more powerful as woman! I love you so much and i hope we can hang out after all this Pandemic is over! You are doing AMAZING! YOU ARE AMAZING! KEEP BEING AMAZING! I am sure all the mentors you have had would be proud of you! That is why you received professor of the year award! I love you!

      Your student
      Jacqueline Ocegueda

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  4. I did my trust also with my husband. His Mother passed a month ago not from Covid she had other issues. She had gotten her plot long time ago. Still so much left to do. I literally just thought the other day I have to be prepared.
    Stay safe ❤️

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  5. Well said, Lynda! We need to make sure we escape COVID-19 and stay alive so we can vote for Democratic candidates in November. There is no way our country or environment can survive four more years of this pathetic, lying, self-centered, pompous, ignorant, science-denying lunatic who thinks he is brilliant when he’s actually just an ignorant, amoral schoolyard bully selling snake oil to those with poor critical thinking skills. Hopefully, enough people will finally realize the “Emperor Wears No Clothes” (along with his numerous other deficits) and get him out of office!
    Stay safe and healthy.
    Deidre

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    • Wow!! Deidre, my dear, you knew how to describe this mother f^&*) very well!! Perfect profile description.. it is really hard for me to understand how people can not see that!! Be safe and healthy!!

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  6. Could not have said it better. With everything going on in our world today, we do not know what tomorrow brings. I have family that have been torn apart because of politics but it merely because many of very uneducated and do not know the bigger picture. There is no way our world can grow and prosper the leadership that we have right now. Change is needed. Stores and businesses are starting to reopen, not because it is safe but because the government only cares about the economy.

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    • I’m sorry about your family. I too lost someone dear due to her standing up for that criminal. At least your education does allow you to see the bigger picture. Education is something no one can take from you – and once you see, you can’t unsee, and you wouldn’t want to. Even with things opening, make your own decision to stay safe!!!

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  7. Good morning, Mrs Hoggan
    As I read your blog it’s interesting that you mention the living trust . I can’t imagine not having something made like that for my kids . That is why in my life insurance I have a written statement of how I want the funds to get split up for all 3 of my girls . Due to all of the politics That we all have in our family I just in case that I my die young and my kids are to young to say do what the want . I have also signed a trusty but it’s hard to know who to trust now at days. It’s funny that you mention the time you thought about all that and you where writing at 3 am . It’s ironic that sometimes we find ourselves thinking about the unthinkable at what’s called the Spiritual time. I find my self also at times up till then and I start to think about everything going on in my surroundings, my bills, my kids, what if I die etc… especially with everything that’s going on with our surroundings this virus that our government knew was around but didn’t say much about it till it got out of hand . It’s sad to say that we now have to basically live in fear and the free world that we live in is not much as free world anymore. And now the riots it’s a crazy world I haven’t been around much say wow this again but I have been around to say well this what’s happens when our “government “ doesn’t do much for its people. As I have read about our history it seems that nothing has ever changed it’s still the same as in 1800’s to now. The only is that women have rights now and the African Americans are no longer slaves . But we are all Americans so I believe why can’t our “government “ do something to show us all that we have some rights . All of this democracy is crazy yet alone with our president saying things that are inappropriate or wrong our own leader. I will stop writing here because if. It I will just keep on going, but I have been reading your blogs and never commented . I love what I have been reading and I also the the fact that you express your mind. Take care of your self and stay healthy, good luck in moving closer to your sister . 🤗☺️❤️💐🙏🏻

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    • Thank you, Lety, and the same to you. You sound like a very responsible parent to your kids. I believe there are some people in government who care, and that’s why it’s important to educate ourselves and watch what they do, because that’s how we know whom to vote for – not just by their words. Talk is cheap.

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  8. The explanation of the difference between republicans and democrats was enlightening. I’m not a political person, nor do I care to become one. I do agree political beliefs are a reflection of morality, and that’s a scary thought. I’m not against those who are passionately political, but I can’t seem to hold a conversation with those who want to shove their beliefs down my throat. This was very refreshing to read!

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  9. Hi Lynda!

    I have previously commented on this post, but unfortunately I don’t think I submitted it correctly. Not sure if it will show later but here is what I remember commenting the first time:

    I absolutely enjoyed this post! I will admit that I was feeling uneasy at first when I read the title. “I hope she is doing okay” is the first thing I thought of even though this is the first time I stumble upon your fabulous blog! But I am glad you are doing well.

    I admire how freely you speak about our current political climate here in America and I 100% agree with everything you said. I tried to understand the other side but my head hurts from thinking of how people really think this guy is doing a marvelous job at being president and how they would support him another 4 years! I can’t even begin to comprehend. With his true colors being exposed more and more by the strains of society, I can only hope people open their eyes and allow themselves to see how unfit he is for the title he has and, quite frankly, doesn’t deserve.

    I pray to the universe and all other entities that more Americans, especially young Americans, take voting seriously this year. I don’t even want to think of the possible outcomes that can occur if he becomes president for another 4 years.

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    • I love your metaphor “my head hurts.” (And now it reminds me of “I can’t breathe.”) My head hurts for the same reason. And I can hardly breathe thinking about how much destruction he could wreak in four more years. He’s ruined so much already. I hope more young people vote, too!

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  10. Thank you for your post. Even as a young adult, I have been pondering my mortality in light of the recent pandemic and revelations of our seemingly failed public health model. This country is great in so many ways, but it seems we are walking backwards on the most important things, such as environmental policy and racial equality, while advancing toward more corruption in politics and targeted racism in our police force. Perhaps the most chilling part of this blog post is that it mentions police officers shooting African-Americans…almost two months before George Floyd was killed in public. We all have a duty to make this country great again, but we must do it the right way.

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    • Unfortunately, police killing African-Americans is an old story and ongoing part of our history. As one who protested for civil rights in the 60’s, it’s disheartening to me that we are still there. But it does encourage me to see so many white, and especially young white, faces. I agree with your comment about walking backwards – let’s make it stop! Voting is one of many things we can do.

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  11. I believe everyone should write a will as soon as their legal to do so cause honestly you just never know. Dying itself doesn’t scare me. It’s leaving my son behind, especially when he is so young.

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    • That’s a scary thought for any parent! At least one should have one’s affairs in order, to the best of their ability.

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  12. Powerful message! I love the analogy you used to describe both political parties. And it is true. Dyiing without preparations and will can be really overwhelming for family members who are grieving. A recent unplanned death in our family has been not only difficult to process but has also been financially difficult.

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    • I always knew there was a reason why I gravitated to being a Democrat, but until a grad school prof explained it, I didn’t understand why. I’m sorry about the death in your family. Hopefully that difficulty will spur people to make proper decisions.

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  13. Hi Professor
    I have not done my part in politics but as this Covid Pandemic has hit close to home I have been more vigilant. I have been suffering from the stress or everyday life and balancing everything out. I have been telling my mother that a trust needs to be put in place. Sadly she does not think it is necessary. I tell her we make our bed and we shall lay in them one day. However, when my time comes a celebration of life is what I would like. Something like your wishes. Everyone can keep a piece of my treasure and remember me by the great things I did.

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  14. Hi Professor Hoggan!
    I connected to this post in many ways I feel as if anyone who read this they would connect to what your saying. Crazy we are in a Pandemic its a nightmare everyday death is all you hear and read about. After reading this I called my sister so we can talk to our parents to start preparing for the future because the future is now and you never know what tomorrow has planned 😦 This pandemic and politics are hard to speak about but its happening and hopefully soon there will be justice, fairness, kindness like you said, thats a great philosophy to live by. Stay safe thank you for sharing!
    -Katy

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    • I’m so glad you and your sister are talking about how to be proactive during this crazy time. You stay safe, too!

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  15. I had been waiting for 2020 because this was the year I planned on graduating with my bachelors. I did! but I really wanted my parents to see me walk on commencement day. I am the only one in my family to go to college. I am first generation American and college student. But this year brought so many struggles that have really made me seen how unimportant my degree is. My mother aneurysm surgery was postponed. We are all so worried. My grandmother 97 years old is really concerned about contracting the COVID-19 like most older people. I am really worried for all my family. I know people that have had the COVID-19 and were not too ill and also others who are on oxygen and another that has been in the hospital for three weeks already (and she is in her late 30’s). I can’t believe what the President does and says. It is seriously a joke to have him in the white house.

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    • Loved this post! I also really liked how you compared democrats and republicans. I am taking an American Government course and learning about our two party system was interesting. I have to agree with you on that matter as well.

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      • I’m glad that comparison made sense to you. It sure did to me the first time I heard it.

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    • I lost a friend over my disagreement with Trump. “It’s just politics,” she said. But to me, it isn’t! It’s values! And the things you describe are reasons why my values are not in line with his. I hope you and your family are able to stay safe.

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  16. What a powerful post! I agree with everything you said. You’re such a good writer you should publish your memoir asap. I really want to read it!

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