At 97 years old, my grandfather died after living a life that took on big issues – agricultural methods in Zimbabwe (then, Southern Rhodesia), originating and organizing Child Protective Services in southern Washington and in his retirement years, promoting and supplying food banks in the Gig Harbor and Tacoma areas. So it was a little surprising that he was so incredibly detailed in putting together his Bequest by List – in a spiral notebook – that gave away absolutely everything with specificity. His gifts included the canned food in the pantry and the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink (which were designated to come to me).
Of course he also gave away treasured family items to each of his children and grandchildren, which were all the more meaningful because he gave them directly to us. The fact that he remembered us specifically made receiving the item a direct connection with this remarkable man.
Very few people ever fill out the Bequest by List forms, but I think it means a lot to the beneficiaries to receive a direct gift from a parent, grandparent or a friend. By the time my grandpa passed away, there weren’t many cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, but I treasure the circa 1972 Encyclopedia Britannica set he left me and his copy of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl that contained Grandpa’s comments and underlines from numerous readings. Oh yes – and the silver tea set. That was special, too.