Friday, July 31, 2009

MAKE IT CLEAR

I just got back from NY with knots in my stomach and a very somber disposition.

The one thing that I would like to address in this post is, plan for your death. I know that sounds morbid, but one of the realities of life is that we will ALL say goodbye no matter how young or how old.

My uncle only had his brothers, sister, and nieces & nephews that truly took care of him. He did not have an immediate family member that he shared his thoughts on death or how he would like to be taken care of once gone. It left us playing guessing games and it left my family with a $22,000 bill out of the blue to pay for. We wanted him to have a most beautiful viewing and burial, so all the siblings banned together and paid for the services.

The experience started all of us talking about what "should have been done" , and what we all need to do to prepare for ourselves.

Here are the following suggestions:

  1. Draw up a will. Especially imperative if you have children and want them to go to the proper custodians should you pass away. Also determine who will be in charge of "pulling the plug" should you be hospitalized and on life support.
  2. Talk to someone you ABSOLUTELY trust about what you would like to have done. Do you want to be buried or cremated? How would you like the service to be performed and how will it be paid for?
  3. Make sure that you create a LIFE INSURANCE policy for family members to help cover the costs.
  4. Create a WISH LIST for your belongings. State the items that you would like to give away to various people, so that it does not create conflict once you are gone.
  5. Write your farewell. I sat down and wrote letters to my children and husband expressing my feelings, my hopes and aspirations for their future, and how they have enriched my life. I saw a mom on Oprah one time that left a video diary for her kids once she found out she had terminal cancer, so that they understood her better as well as give them guidance.

I know this is not an easy topic and one that you may ignore, but nothing is tougher on loved ones when they simply DON"T KNOW. Take all the guessing games out, so that they can focus on grieving their loss and supporting one another.

Take some time and consider what you can do to prepare. The truth is once we are gone, we don't need to pick up the pieces, our family and friends do. Let's honor them by giving them all the answers ahead of time.

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