Preparing for China…preparing for the end?

My 20th wedding anniversary is this summer–the “china” anniversary if you follow the traditional list of celebrations. Coincidentally, I’m going to China for two weeks on a combined business/pleasure trip with Dr. Stevens. We’re both very excited about it. I’m making packing lists, viewing photos of famous sites to visit online, agonizing over what to wear at the dinners–and making lists of instructions for my mother in case the plane goes down. The children will live with her. The white floral quilt will go to the middle son. We’ll have no canned music at the funeral! I want a stone picnic table for our monument in the family cemetery.

For something that happens to everyone, I found my family and me woefully unprepared a few years back when my 90+ year old grandmother passed away. The funeral director knew his job. The hospital knew their tasks. But we sat up until one in the morning at my mother’s house staring at each other in exhaustion, asking–what’s next? I pulled out a blank sheet of unlined paper and scribbled random notes all over it, which because the to-do-list: “Call Diane.” “Buy paper plates. “Pick out a burial outfit.” “Go through the photo albums and make a montage.” “Hire someone else to make a montage.”

After that experience, I made a checklist which resides on this laptop (which Mom will keep while we travel, and I’ll get her the password in case of emergency). It’s called, “If I Die.” Fun stuff!

Am I morbid? Oh yeah. OCD? Maybe a wee bit. But I find that the best way for me to alleviate anxiety about the unknown is to prepare for every crazy contingency. I will enjoy that boat trip around Hong Kong much better, knowing that it’s documented that I’ll wear underwire during the visitation, but want that bra removed before the interment under my picnic table.