Planning Your Afterlife

I consider it a wake-up call.   The sudden decline and death of my sweet little dog in a 24-hour period underscored for me that any one of us can be gone before we know what hit us.  Once again, the organizer in me kicked in.

My husband and I actually began discussing our final wishes 2 1/2 years ago, when we found ourselves unexpectedly responsible for the end-of-life decisions for a friend.   (This led to a frank conversation with my parents, which I was very glad to have had when my mother passed away less than a year later, as documented in Planning for the End).  At that time, I created a hanging folder to capture the decisions we made and the forms needed to support those decisions.  Calling this folder “Death” seemed too stark.  So I decided to call it “Afterlife”.  Not only was this perkier, but its alphabetical advantage enabled it to be the first folder in the first drawer in my file cabinet.

Starting that conversation was great (and surprisingly enjoyable), but we never took the next step and documented all the things that really needed to be in the folder.   Over the past few days, however, I rectified that oversight.  Here’s what I added. Read More

Planning for the End

Death is a topic that people don’t want to talk about, especially their own deaths.  As Woody Allen said, “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

My mother passed away three days ago.  I was very glad that I had taken the time last year to have a conversation with her about how she envisioned her funeral.  It greatly eased the decision-making at a very trying time.  I didn’t have to keep stopping and asking myself, “What would Mommy want?” and then second-guessing myself.

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