A Swell Dame

It is another sad farewell. A person in their 90's passing on is not unexpected, yet in some instances it is quite too soon none-the-less. My dear client just departed was so very alive. She had a life-force you could feel.

When I met this woman, it came about in conversation, that I had grown up 2 blocks away from her home. She knew who my family were, all the Aunts and Uncles. We lived in *Shannon* district in Vancouver; just up from Marpole. Four of my close relatives lived in a 3 block area, one just across the street from where my client lived. Back in those years, *Shannon* was not the inner-city next to the Granville freeway, it was quaint and lovely with tree-lined streets. The neighbours were all long-time residents and people mostly all got along with each other. We knew the names of everyone on our street, both sides long, and they knew us.

"Carrie" had been married and widowed by the age of 35. She was an only child and had no children of her own. Once widowed, her father began to worry about her future. Carrie was comfortably well-off even before her husband's estate was settled on her. She did not work of course, but she did the rounds of Country Clubs and golf courses. She was the life of any party, and a grand hostess. A swell dame.

Under pressure from her Father she did indeed remarry in her late 40's. There were children from a prior marriage, but that did not bother her. Until later. When husband number 2 died, he wrote his will in an ambiguous way which, under legal (very expensive legal) scrutiny, left half of everything Carrie owned to his children. Half of everything Carrie had possession of, half of all she had inherited from her first husband and her father, was legally bequested to these children of his who wished immediate dispersal. They got some cash out of her and a legal promise for half of the proceeds of the sale of her home when at last she would sell.

Carrie had no plans to sell and continued to live on happily until she was declared legally blind.
Suddenly she was visited by a Doctor she did not know in her own home. Not many weeks later she was informed she was incompetent to make her own decisions and her home was put on the market and sold in record time. Her large Art collection contained many family pieces. Some of them were large sculptures.

What did not sell at auction for a song, went to her step-kids, against her wishes. A few cracked sculptures came along with her to the small 2 bedroom apartment in assisted living chosen for her. This was a huge change from her 4000 square foot home, and she was mad as hell for about a year. She told everyone who had ears to make sure to make their wills with caution.

Carrie did settle in eventually to live another 3 years in that place. She brought elegance and happiness and endeared herself to all. She was a great friend and a charming companion and enriched the life and soul of the place. Carrie is not replaceable. It is a terrible loss.

Her obituary somehow did not manage to catch her joy and spirit. It had several lines duly chronicling in black and white those step-relatives of hers. I am certain they believe they did what was right and proper under trying circumstance. No doubt they are congratulating themselves on a job well done as she lived on much longer than expected.

SO: listen to Carrie. Be sure to make a Will, an iron-clad will before you re-marry, and choose your Power of Attorney with great care. It may seem trivial at the time, but as years go on, the entitled need to be protected against. You think you won't care, but in my experience, most people care deeply.

Farewell Carrie, you were a swell.