Planning with the end in mind: Do not leave your loved ones hanging, say something!
Dying is tough enough; it is living that is tougher without some planning and guidance. Most folks have at least a lot of paperwork in place that covers the event of their early departure. Very few people openly talk about it since this topic is far from easy.
This post is not intended to be a downer. Planning for the inevitable is just a prudent thing to do. For one, this will happen and second, you never know what can and will happen to you tomorrow. There are countless examples of when not planning ahead leaves relatives and friends with huge question marks and are often cause of major financial hardship and heartaches. This is the stuff that tears families apart.
My grandparents had left my sister and I totally speechless one day when we were walking across the cemetery one day while looking for the graves of our relatives. They had taken us to a future grave site and nonchalantly mentioned to us that this site would be where they would be “planted”. I remember getting a little choked up, but at the same time I was totally amazed how far they had planned ahead.
Amongst other things they had done their homework about all the paperwork: They had a living will, a testament, and finances in order (nowadays you had better include a note about what you want to do about your social media data!). Most of all they had voiced their wishes to us in person.
Here are a few things that you should be considering when you speak with your folks:
1. Determining a family spokesperson, or estate executor
2. Do-not-resuscitate orders
3. Long term care details
4. Funeral ceremony details
5. Belongings and wealth distribution
6. Organ donation
7. Body donation to science
8. Got any items to share with us? Use the comment field.
It saved our family so much grief when both passed and even though going through the grieving process was not easy, it was so much more peaceful since we did not have to worry about so many details. What was best, was the fact that all the other family members knew about our grandparent’s wishes and that gave us a much needed break.
Let there be no doubt, paperwork is important. Just like any other paperwork, mail and even electronic mail and media the written word is most often misinterpreted. Overcome this obstacle by speaking with your loved ones often – even if it may feel awkward talking about death at first.