December, the month in which we as Christians remember the birth of Christ on earth; a month of great celebration but for some also of real sadness. Not only do Christians celebrate new life at this time but, today, it has become a time of parties and presents for everyone. But that is not what I want to write about today but rather of how December 2012 started and ended for some of us as we experienced both the joy of new life as well as the sadness of death.
90 available posts for new traffic police in KZN; 34 000 applications from people who are desperate for employment; 15 500 turn up on the first day at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg to do the fitness test. It is 300 C and very humid and, guess what, the first test is to run 4km.
Over the past month I have heard a senior traffic officer say, ‘It seems as if SA drivers have a death wish’ at least 10 times. It is pointed out on radio, TV and in the printed media that we need to drive more carefully, reduce speed, don’t drink and drive, etc. There are also plenty of campaigns such as Arrive Alive and Crisis on Call, roadblocks are held regularly and we even see situations where vehicles are stopped simply for the police to remind drivers to be sensible but these seem to have absolutely no effect whatsoever. Do we really have a death wish when on the road?
Last weekend it was clear that the time for getting my filing up to date had come around again. The basket into which everything is simply dropped on a daily basis was overflowing. When I am organised it includes items from about the last month or so and takes about 2 hours. Unfortunately, this time, the task had been left for rather longer and there was a big pile of papers to be filed. One thing which keeps me going though is that, when everything is filed, it is so much easier to find documents or to follow a paper trail for proof of actions. I can hear many groans already and others who probably think that I am just too organised. Chatting with one of my sisters this morning she chuckeled when I described how I like to hang washing so that it can be taken off the line in an orderly way!
Returning to filing, it is sad that it is frequently considered a menial job which should be kept for the practically unskilled person, usually a young woman straight from school. Too often we hear the comment, ‘She just does the filing’ or similar. As far as I am concerned, being able to file accurately and in an organised manner is a wonderful skill. Most filing is alphabetical, though some is numerical and then there is the third form, alpha-numeric filing. Which ever system is used accuracy and alphabetical and numeric knowledge are the real skills required. Unfortunately, with education not being based on the basics of knowing the alphabet and basic numeracy, filing seems to have become even more inaccurate. Having to search for a document which has been misfiled is most frustrating and an unnecessary waste of time.
This got me thinking as to how important it is to have all our personal documents, certificates and bank records properly filed and easily located. For this none of the 3 aforementioned systems will necessarily work. Probably the best way to keep these in an easy to find system is to have a file or envelope with a cover sheet stating exactly what is retained and where in the file it is.
Over the last few years I have had to sort out property and homes of parents who have died or moved out of their homes. It is amazing how much we accumulate through life, most of which is irrelevant when we die or move to smaller premises. Due to this unnecessary amassing of paraphenalia important documents tend to get lost in the melee of papers. This makes things very difficult for those who are left to locate the documents needed by the undertaker, the executor or the Master of the High Court .
As I mention in my webpage when my Dad died in 1982 we learnt by trial and error what documents and details were required by the various entities. Having done the research for my book it was so much easier to cope with my mother’s death in 2009 and that of my father-in-law last year. He, in particular, had taken the final chapter of my book to heart. In an envelope was every document we would need to give to the different role players and the executor was most surprised to receive everything he required in the first meeting.
What is the point of this posting? Just to say that even the most disorganised of us should take the time to ensure that we have at least ensured that we have originals and/or certified copies of all our personal documents and put them together so that our family and friends will not be sorting through our chaos to wind up our estates.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people either do not have a valid Will or have not updated the one they have. If one only knew what misery and chaos can be avoided by having an up to date, valid Will. Anyone over the age of 16 and who owns anything of value should make a Will.
For various reasons I am rather glad that I am not the Dean of a medical school but, knowing that if I were the Dean of a medical school in Taiwan, I would have to donate my body for research is not one of them. The belief is that having been such a valuable teacher in life, it is important to carry on with this work after death – ‘a silent mentor’ as it is known.
Since my husband and I are both retired we have decided to travel and see the world for as long as we are physically and financially able to do so. We lived carefully while our children were growing up so that we could give them a good education and assist them in developing into independent their adults. Now that they are both married and settled in their own homes we have decided to SKI – spend the kids inheritance and it is great fun.