This section has proven a little more difficult; I suppose because it is a bit more emotionally charged than the others. Some of the things I'm suggesting may seem a bit out there, but if the worst was to happen (whether it is at the age of 25 or 65) I believe the benefits to those you leave behind just can't be measured.
7) In Isaac's closet right now I have 12, custom-designed, Tom James suits; each one embroidered with "MAO". I have no idea if they will ever fit Isaac; and if they do if he would ever have any interest in wearing them. What I do know is they were some of Matt's very favorite things in the world. The night I met Matt some friends and I were picking him up to take him to an after party; it was easily 2 in the morning. When we came to pick him up, he was up in his room trying on these suits, picking one out for the party. I'll never forget that night, beside other obvious reasons, it was the first glimpse I had into the love-affair he had with his suits. Given any chance to wear one of these suits, he always did. So, where am I going? Although, I'll always keep one for memories, and there is a chance Isaac could want these, they take up a lot of space (seriously, a lot). Not only do they take up a lot of space, but I wonder if there is someone out there that needs a suit to get a job, or keep a job? Could they go to someone who needs them more? They were also extremely expensive. Could I sell them, and instead of handing the suits down to Isaac, could I be building up his college fund? This is just an example, of course. It was only one of the many decisions on possessions I had to make (and continue to have to make). I don't expect anyone to go through everything they own and decide what would go and what would stay if they were to die. What I would suggest is if there is something that you know you want to stay with your spouse and children - let them know, this way they can feel freedom in making the other decisions with the best of their ability.
Matt in one of his shiny suits at a Governor's dinner we attended ...
8) What would you like your family to have? Each family member deserves [and will want] something to have that would be a piece of you. Your parents, siblings, nieces, nephews. This could be something small, or something that reminds you of your childhood together. I would suggest naming something for each family member. Not only does it take away a tough decision for the spouse in your passing, but it will be a comfort for your family to know it was the thing you wanted them to have.
9) If you were to both pass in an accident together who would you want to take your children? Beside identifying this person, it is important to ask the person you have in mind if that is something they would be willing to do for you.
10) This will be my last piece of advice in this series, and although I imagine readers will have mixed feelings in making the decision to do this, it is the one thing I wish more than anything I had for my kids. Have you ever went back to watch your home videos from the year prior? How often do you actually see yourself in these videos? So often, us parents are the ones taking the videos, or would rather not be seen in them at all. I wish I had something to show Evelyn and Isaac that was just their father - something that captured his voice ... his tone ... his mannerisms ... his humor. I challenge each of you to take your home video camera into your bedrooms and make a video for your children. Include your favorite memory, hopes you have for them, games you played together, and anything else that seems appropriate. No need to start the video with a, "If you are watching this ...". No need to re-watch it, or edit it, or share it with anyone. Just talk, just be you. Place the memory card in an envelope, and put it away. It would take 5 minutes, but the price of something like that could not be measured. Even if you were to live to be 90, a video like this could be a place of immense comfort and great treasure for those who love you. For some reason I think this song helps capture what I'm suggesting ... The Words I Would Say
To end this series I'm going to show you a video of Matt. It is the one video that I have been able to find of him, and just him. Although it is hilarious, and does capture his humor a bit, it leaves a little to be desired in regards to capturing his 'legacy'. I watch it over and over now, wishing it were longer. He took this video after getting a new web camera, he was so proud, and sent this clip off to show off his new toy.
Down By The Bay