Jody Maffett understands life can change in a heartbeat. When the Orléans resident lost her mother at a young age, she and her siblings were raised by a single father.
"Because it was just him, Dad regularly told us – rather ominously, because who wants to talk or think about death?! - 'this is what you do if I drop dead,' " says Jody.
Influenced by her father, Jody made her first will at 24. She regularly updates it and encourages others to do the same.
"Get that done. Wills, Power of Attorney (POA) declarations and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) instructions are so, so important to be done ahead of time," says Maffett.
Tragically, Jody’s father suffered a trau-matic brain injury in 2017. During his recovery, Jody and her siblings faced the daunting task of going through all his papers and financial documents.
“Helping him get better was our main goal, but we had to sort out everything else, too – it was hard,” recalls Jody.
As careful as they were, no one noticed a recurring payment for a service that no longer existed. When they finally caught it, it was thousands of dollars too late.
It took more jolts for Jody, a self-employed graphic designer, to fully recognize the volume of information needed by others when tragedy happens, whether it’s becoming incapacitated or worse.
While in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy, she realized she was the only one who knew how to make her business HST payment (due that day) or how to contact her clients.
“I was in my hospital bed texting clients that I would be a bit late meeting their deadlines,” says Jody.
The final tipping point was hitting her head late this summer at the family cottage. Her first thoughts after waking up included, “What if I have a brain injury like Dad? No one will know where my stuff is or what to do. What about Jenny (her beloved dog)?” She also had work deadlines - and her HST was due.
The thought of saddling her sister and kids with figuring out nitty-gritty details of her life led Jody to create a journal where vital information is noted in one place for easy reference. The title, “It’s been nice, but now I’m dead (or perhaps just really, really sick)”, reflects Jody’s wry sense of humour while addressing a serious subject.
While it’s not an entirely new idea, Jody has ramped it up a bit, filled it with Canadian content and has both interactive/digital and print versions available – and a French version is in the works.
Among those “nitty-gritty details” written in her own journal are her dog’s favourite treats, a request to make sure her chin hair is taken care of if she’s in a coma – “Women over 50 can relate,” laughs Jody – a list of clients to contact, which community mailbox is hers, the passcode to her garage door and instructions that her daughter gets all her Starbucks points.
“I try to live by the motto ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’, but these days, there is just SO much small stuff. My journal covers the minutia in our lives these days. We’re complicated people – multiple email addresses, online subscriptions, social media accounts, our pets’ vets…there’s just so much,” Jody stresses.
The first print run of the journal sold out within weeks but more are coming.
“People are having ‘Journal Parties’. They’re making a night of it and helping each other fill out their journals. I think that’s so smart,” says Jody who sells the journals in an interactive/digital format for $22 or a hard copy for $32. Both prices include HST…which will be paid on time, even if something happens to her. There is also a “gentler” version for those who aren’t keen on the bluntness of “But now I’m dead”.
If you’d like to order one, go to maffett.ca and click on the book button. It’s also available on Amazon – just look for her name. English copies can be ordered at https://a.co/d/aCIFINy and French copies at https://a.co/d/6Y3MTKb, or you can contact Jody directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for Jody’s father, he’s still alive and kicking, much to his own surprise.