A terrible accident killing eleven people has made me realise there are some things in life over which we have no control.
Most readers are no doubt aware of the saying, treat every day as it’s your last. It is true that we never really know when we wake in the morning, whether we will live to go to bed that night. Regardless of age, or health or anything else, things sometimes happen that we have no control over.
Some of you will be aware of the tragic accident here in New Zealand yesterday, when eleven couples and a balloonist died in a hot air balloon accident. One minute they were setting off in what was to be a fun occasion, then within minutes they were all gone, after the balloon is thought to have touched a power line.
None of those people, nor their families would have dreamt their end would have been so fast and so horrific. None would have thought they’d never see their families again. This should not have been a risky venture. The balloonist was experienced, the weather calm. But as I said, things sometimes happen over which we have no control.
I’m sure this accident was the subject of conversation over dinner for many here in New Zealand last night. It certainly was in my household where a small group had gathered for a summer barbecue. We started talking about whether or not we knew what other family members wishes were when the does come for funerals, who would pay for them if there were insufficient funds and other things people usually choose not to discuss.
We questioned who did or did not have wills and which family members or close contacts actually knew how to access the information. We talked about where we kept important information and who knew about it. We talked about the suffering of families who were suddenly faced with unexpected circumstances.
This may seem like a sombre dinner party discussion on a summer evening, but the events of the day were a reality. Six families were now faced with these questions. Not many amongst us felt that our affairs were totally in order, should such a tragic end come to us. Many of our questions were left unanswered.
I’m not suggesting we should all become paranoid about stepping out of homes, thinking about whether or not we’ll return. I am suggesting that we should all take stock of our current state of affairs, ensuring documents such as wills are up to date. We should make sure someone is aware of where important information is kept.
Most of us agreed that when we go on holiday we advise others where we are going, contact details and other things that may be useful. But how often do we set out on shorter ventures, maybe such as the hot air balloon excursion yesterday, and tell no one of our plans.
Perhaps 2012 should be your year, no matter how young and healthy you believe you are, to make sure your personal affairs are in order, in case something untimely should happen to you. After all, once you are gone it is your families who have to deal with everything. Why make their task, when they are already grieving, more difficult than it needs to be.
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