In Henderson’s previous article, “A final farewell” advice on living and dying, Author Nancy Lawson introduced us to a passage by Joshua Lieberman that reads, “Time is but lent to us…looking upon our years as a trust, handed into our temporary keeping”. This being a reasonable deduction, what is the best way to organize the life we were entrusted with?
Many cannot even think about such things; only being capable of living each day by focusing on such things as paying bills, caring for family members or just trying to get ahead. Putting order to our affairs may be a sensible choice but where might one start.
In this month’s articles, Lawson and Henderson provide information that can make organizing life affairs seem almost easy and effortless. Lawson suggests that we throw ourselves wholeheartedly into life – using discrimination and experiencing everything while consciously arranging life matters in an effort to relieve our family of the daunting task should something happen to us. We will spend some time highlighting many of the ideas that are within “A final farewell”.
Here is a list that may help you stay on top of things.
• Write your family a letter and keep it in a place that will be easy to find
Keep in mind that should you choose to write this letter while you are young, you can always go update it from time to time as your adventures, assets and interests increase. To begin, you can ask yourself this question: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you be sad about not having shared with those you love?
Some may wish to involve a family member or members in this process which, if done openly could shift their perspective from the finality of death to one of sharing what you have worked so hard for in life while also shifting your own from feeling as if you have to do everything. The task then turns into one of doing, sharing, and acting with others in a way that perpetuates an overall state of kinship. For those that have many children that might be offended by not receiving something in particular, you can opt to do as Lawson did with her children. She moved throughout her home labeling items that she wanted each child to have while also making notes to share why she wanted each child to have the said items. She remembered that each child either loved an item or she had a fond memory of that child with a certain item.
• Planning for your funeral or memorial service
Few of us know our family members specific wishes for burial, let alone our own. Make a list of favorite poems, psalms, scriptures, music or hymn’s.
• Provide a living will – tell your family whether you want your organs donated, if you wish for healthcare practitioners to administer fluids, food and such should something happen to you that require life sustaining efforts
Save your relatives the expense of scrambling to handle last minute details may afford them the time to focus on helping you get well, or perhaps just to enjoy and celebrate your life – reliving old memories and sharing their experiences.
• Think pre-need funeral planning- plan ahead, set up payment plans
By thinking ahead, you may be consciously protecting your family from emotional buying. When we are distraught about having to care for someone or have lost someone we love, it is easy to overspend when we feel pressed for time. This will allow for that time you may need to shop around.
Stay tuned for part II of Things you need to know from “A Final Farewell” as Lawson and Henderson highlight how to approach making a decision about burial, cremation or entombment.
A Final Farewell, Your Personal Guide to End of Life Planning, Nancy S. Lawson