11 Elul 5775
by Susan Glass
When I wrote my message for Elul last year I was full of optimism and plans for spending time just enjoying the world around me. But you know what they say: Man plans and God laughs. Less than a month after submitting my message, a very dear friend died. We had met in college on the East Coast more than 50 years ago. We didn’t always live near one another but we stayed in touch. Fifteen years ago she was in Southern California and I took her to Palm Springs for a few days. She fell in love with the community and moved there. We saw each other from time to time and after a while she, another friend and I developed a routine of e-mailing one another every morning (three women living on our own checking in often not saying much more than we were ok and were looking forward to another routine day—sometimes we even had exciting news to pass along).
About eight years ago she was diagnosed with cancer, fought it, was reasonably healthy for a while, and then relapsed. So her death was not a surprise but it was devastating nonetheless. I had lost a friend who knew my family and other friends so well and to whom I spoke about so many things. And then came the realization that she had named me as her executor and the successor trustee of her trust (she had mentioned it years before but I guess I figured that she had updated her documents to name her children). The estate is not large but there are some issues. Many of her papers have taken up residence on my dining room table. It’s as if she is always with me but not really in a good way. Her two children do not see eye to eye on what to do with her house. They are not doing so well trying to reach a decision. I’ve known them both since they were toddlers and it hurts to see them be somewhat less than loving to one another.
So, my participation in the estate will draw to a conclusion at some point in the coming months. I look forward to a time to mostly happy memories of times spent with my friend. And, along the way, I’ve gained a new appreciation of how well my brothers and I handled the death of our mother almost 20 years ago. I’ve even reminded them of how thankful I am that we met the challenge and succeeded. I hope that my sons will rise to the occasion when the time comes. I’m pretty sure they will – and I hope they will not face the situation for many years. So, I guess I have spent a year being reminded of how precious friends and family are in our lives, and how we need to work on those relationships.