Classic Billfold: How Gilmore Girls Do Money: Richard Gilmore

To celebrate The Billfold, we’re sharing some of our favorite posts. This piece originally published on January 13, 2016.

My dear Emily—

It is a luxury, I suppose, to know the approximate time of one’s death in advance; you and I have always had more luxury than we deserved, although this particular privilege feels a bit hard-earned.

Still, I have never been a man to shy away from what is in front of me, and so while I am still in a position to manage my own faculties, I am writing this letter to assure you that I have always loved you, tremendously.

I also want to assure you that your future will be secure; between our current assets and my life insurance policy, you will have more than enough to live comfortably in what I hope will be a long and satisfying life. Our financial manager will continue doing the job for which we hired him.

I have taken an unusual liberty, in that I have elected to relieve you of the mental and financial stress of planning my funeral. The various burial entrapments and floral arrangements have already been selected, the appropriate individuals have been notified, and I’ve even contacted the caterers. Although I know you may be inclined to go over my work with your thoughtful and critical eye, I will remind you that these are a dead man’s last wishes, and should be respected.

Do you know what, Emily? It’s delightful to look at flowers. It’s a shame I put that off until so late in my existence.

I did ask Rory to write my obituary. She writes so well. Sometimes I cannot believe we were fortunate enough to have known her.

I have put a sum aside for both Lorelai and Rory, though I know both of them will argue that they do not need financial support. I trust you will find the right moment to ensure the gift is received.

I have also prepared the donations to our usual charities, so please do not be surprised if you receive letters and cards following my death, thanking you for our generosity.

Yale may ask, politely, if there is an endowment coming in their direction; tell them to contact our financial manager and to name it the Gilmore Scholarship.

I have contacted our maid service and asked them to please remind the staff they provide us that you are grieving, and that they should view any position they take at the Gilmore residence to be temporary. You will, no doubt, go through half-a-dozen staff in the month after my death, and so I have already raised the amount we pay our service by 10 percent, to accommodate the inconvenience.

I have not stopped the delivery of my daily newspapers. I know you, after all, and when those first papers arrive you will be furious, astounded that there could still be news in the world and that someone would have the audacity to send it to your front door stamped with the name of a dead man.

“Don’t they know he’s dead?” I can hear you say—I could hear it from upstairs, were I that lucky—but the news does not, and it will still come.

At first you will order the maid to get rid of them, but within two weeks you will change your mind and begin reading them. You will see some story, some sentence, that you know I would appreciate, and that way I may remain close to your heart, as if you and I were still having our old conversations about the world.

Didn’t we think so much of the world, and of ourselves? It seems I have become a poet at the end of my days. I suppose we always have the capacity to grow, even in our last moments together.

I have written Lorelai a letter of her own, but please know that even though she may not have had the life we dreamed for her, I am so proud of what she has built for herself. I should not be surprised, of course. She takes after her father.

I see you in her too. Every day. Look at everything we’ve created, my Emily, in our own small and lucky lives.

Yours in love and in marriage, and in whatever comes in the world beyond—


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