Preparing for Death When You Live Alone

03/22/2015 02:21 pm ET | Updated May 22, 2015

Recently, the brother of a close friend/co-worker died in his sleep. His other sister happened to come over in the morning to visit him, and discovered him on the floor. (Heart attack. He was only in his early 60s. Very sad.)

It got me thinking...

Since I am divorced and live alone, and no one expects me home, ever, I wonder how long it would take for someone to discover I had died.

And I wonder what they would find when they finally did find me.

And I wonder if I need to put some precautions in place in the event this should happen.

So the first thing I wanted to do was find out more about what exactly happens to a body when a person dies. On CSI and those shows, you never really see much of anything. Oh, and plus, they are fake. But I have heard that generally, you lose all control of your bowels, etc., which makes sense, but also makes me feel really bad for whoever would be finding me. I know at that point I wouldn't care, but still... ewww.

(Oh, and by the way, if after you find me you notice on my computer in the Google search history, "How long does it take for a body to decompose", you will know why. Don't bother checking my freezer for bodies. I was just curious about, well, you know. What I already said.)

So, second, it makes me wonder if, every time I leave the house, I need to take everything with me that I wouldn't want my grieving children or grieving mother to find. Like what's in my night stand drawer, or written in my journal. Another idea would be to give a key to a close friend and make sure she's the first one in, and then she can hurry up and empty the drawer and say, "Oh, I was wondering what happened to this! I thought I lost it! It's totally mine." Or something.

I know. That story needs a little work.

Last but not least, it makes me second-guess my decision to get a dog. I have heard stories... nevermind... Oh, OK: Let's just say I just wouldn't want to be laying on the floor dead with a very hungry dog. (Come on, admit it, you've heard those stories too!!)

And by the way, I never did find out on Google how long it takes after you die before all the shit, well, hits the fan, I did find this. It was presumably written for kids, but I found it oddly comforting:

All living things -- including bugs and fish and people -- die. It's difficult, even for grownups, to understand why this must happen. It may be the hardest thing of all to understand. The best we can do is accept death as a fact of life. It happens, and we can't do anything to change that.

No one really knows what happens to a person's soul after death. There are many different beliefs about that, and it's best to talk with your family to find out what they believe happens after our bodies die. Then you can decide what you believe.

So. Bottom line. It's inevitable. Fish, bugs, (oh, and people) die. So no use in worrying about it. Best to just accept it.

Also, I am thinking if I'm going to find out from my family where they think I'm going to go after I die, I better ask them before they open my nightstand drawer....