Some Life (and Death) Advice

I was talking to a friend about the death of her partner’s mother and how the deceased lady’s husband was coping with the loss. How to bleed a radiatorThis reminded me of some advice that a widow in my book group gave me.

She said that when meeting with a group of her friends, who’d also lost their partners, they all wished they could have their men back for just half an hour. They would spend those precious minutes asking questions like:

  • How do you bleed a radiator?
  • Where did you keep the spanner and screwdriver?
  • Where are the passwords for all the online bank accounts?
  • Where are the house insurance documents?

My book group friend was planning to watch YouTube videos to learn how to change the washer in her dripping tap because, “you can’t call a man in for every little job that needs doing”.  She advised me to watch my husband when he was doing things like bleeding radiators and to film him with my phone so that, should the worst happen, I’d have instructions to follow.

In any partnership, there is bound to be a division of labour depending on the strengths and weaknesses of each partner. But make sure that you are each aware of the basics of what the other is doing, so that the survivor is not left helpless, should one of you die.

Now, the first thing I have to learn is how to use the video facility on my phone …

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  1. #1 by Anne Harvey on January 10, 2019 - 11:09 am

    Absolutely vital advice, Sally! Fortunately, having spent several years alone with my own house, I did learn how to do those essential things. It’s my husband who would be stuck with things like passwords as he is a self-confessed Luddite where technology is concerned. For that reason, we don’t bank online!

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on January 10, 2019 - 6:47 pm

      I think the password issue will stump a lot of couples – I do most of our finances and therefore manage the passwords too. But if you can’t write them down, how do you leave a note of them for your other half?

  2. #3 by lynnforthauthor on January 10, 2019 - 3:42 pm

    Yes, and in case I go first, I must instruct him on the washing machine.

  3. #5 by juliathorley on January 10, 2019 - 4:39 pm

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

  4. #6 by nickdaws on January 11, 2019 - 11:52 am

    Very true! One of the things I had to learn after my partner Jayne died was how to put up and take down curtains – not something I’d ever had to get to grips with before! I was okay with the household appliances and thankfully looked after the household bills myself anyway. It would have been very useful to have the passwords for her social media and bank accounts, though. It took two years to get Facebook to acknowledge that Jayne had died, and in the meantime FB kept sending me and her friends birthday reminders and so on, which was quite upsetting.

    • #7 by Sally Jenkins on January 11, 2019 - 7:02 pm

      That must have been very distressing, Nick. I think social media and all those other internet accounts we have could cause a big problem. I suppose as long as you can access the deceased person’s email it would be possible to do a password reset and then pose as them to close down accounts yourself. Or maybe not, depending on how security is set up – I’m thinking of those security questions like ‘name of your first pet’ or ‘your first car’.

      • #8 by nickdaws on January 11, 2019 - 7:27 pm

        Thanks, Sally. Yes, very good point. It would have made life a lot simpler if I had known Jayne’s email password and been able to access it. But of course, when someone is dying, it’s not easy to have this sort of conversation with them. A good reason to share such information before anything too bad happens, I suppose.

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