People don’t like to discuss death.
In many circles, the topic of death and dying is one of those taboo subjects, right up there with religion and politics; however, when it comes to death, there is no debate. Death is final and it is going to happen to all of us.
Death is the great unknown and thinking about our mortality makes us uncomfortable.
Death presumably can never affect us in a good way.
Death represents loss: loss of a loved one, loss of a hero, family member, relationship, loss of everything that we know.
Death is equated with fear: fear of losing someone and fear of how it will happen to us when it’s our time.
Death is a mystery and makes us question the unimaginable:
Will I go quickly?
Will I be in pain?
Will I see a white light?
Will I have done and said everything I need to when my time is up?
What kind of legacy am I leaving behind?
Will I go to heaven?
Will I ever see my loved ones again?
Will anyone attend my funeral?
How will I be remembered?
Trust me, death is far more than Elisabeth Kübler- Ross’ Five Stages of Grief.
I am convinced that if we talked about death more, if it wasn’t such an off limits subject, it wouldn’t be so scary or hard to face.
Having lost my parents at such a young age, theirs (60 and 58 respectively) and mine (35), and serving as the executor of their estate, I implore you to think about your wishes after you die and discuss them with your loved ones.
Luckily, my parents did have a Will, but it had been created 28 years before they died and there were a lot of blanks and unanswered questions. With the help of many people I trusted, their estate is now closed, but it took the better part of three years.
Imagine my shock when I discovered on my father’s last “To Do” list a line item that read: Update Will. He thought he’d have time to revise it.
I also encourage you to talk to your spouse, aging parents and/or grandparents about Last Will and Testament(s), a legal document that declares how an estate or property will be managed after the writer’s death. Although it is not the most pleasant subject to approach, it is essential for people to draft a Will to ensure that their assets are handled in a satisfying way.
For those with minor children, it is crucial to declare how property or money will be used to provide for these children. For those with investments or accumulated savings, it is important to state the name a responsible party who will manage these funds. For those who want to provide for their loved ones after death, a will is a most necessary document.
When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we separated the things we wanted from the things to be donated and the things to be sold through an estate sale, and still managed filled a 4′ x 30′ dumpster to the very top with junk. My parents, it seems, were pack rats.
Death is no fun, but it is inevitable and the sooner we stop tip toeing around it and prepare the best way we can for it, the better for those who are left behind.
Photo credit: tanakawho