Did you ever daydream about what your memorial service would be like? I know it’s an odd question. Though I will admit, I have thought about my own memorial service, usually after attending one for a family member or a friend. They are all so different. Some somber and others a real celebration, a party atmosphere.
When I asked my Mom about her plan, she had one! She already knew exactly what she wanted, which songs, which order they will be played and even to play one of them twice. The burial, casket, plot, all of it is planned. She has to change the luncheon location due to recent changes in her life but is otherwise “good to go”. The details matter to her.
Some individuals opt for a living memorial or life celebration. The dying person is present for their final honoring. Friends and family gather and share their thoughts and conversation while the person is still very much alive! What a courageous way (IMHO) to embrace this part of life. And who wouldn’t want to hear stories and laugh and feel the love of all the people that you have touched in your lifetime. It can also afford us the time to make amends, heal wounds and offer forgiveness before saying goodbye.
I remember a friend of mine whose husband “tagged” belongings in their home before he passed away and left little notes where he knew she would find them. Another friend of mine made sure to have individual conversations with people to say goodbye and share special time with them before she died.
Have you given thought to your final arrangements? What would they look like?
- Would you be buried or cremated or another alternative?
- What would you like your family to know?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- Where are all the important things that your family needs? Your passwords and papers?
- Who will take care of everything once you are gone?
If you haven’t thought about this before, now’s the time.
End-of-life planning, as it is termed, encompasses many aspects of the last part of life, not the last minutes. It includes your wishes for medical and comfort care, your appointed spokesperson, your thoughts regarding life-sustaining treatment, resuscitation preferences and what happens after you die. This is different planning than estate planning, wills and finances.
April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day. It is intentionally scheduled the day after Tax Day every year (see quote below). The day exists to inspire, educate and empower both the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning. Join our initiative to express your wishes regarding healthcare choices and decisions. I’m offering a special on my services in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, stay tuned an announcement in the April 16th blog post!!
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin