:I Will Remember You
Although spring arrives in March, winter hasn’t turned loose yet. Why not use one of those cozy in-the-house days to start jotting down some notes about yourself? My friend Ann Leach, who is a Life Coach, has excellent suggestions for saving memories that even your family may not know about you. Ann has given me permission to share the following from one of her recent newsletters. Ann says:
A friend posted this picture on Facebook:
I could tell by her comment that she was surprised that anybody would want to attend a workshop on writing an obituary. The comments on her thread pretty much supported the disdain for such a need and activity.
But I responded and said that “this is one of the best gifts you could give your loved ones.” Do you agree? Is yours ready to go when your time comes?
When my elderly cousin died suddenly, it fell to me to clean out her cluttered home and take care of her affairs. She had never married nor did she have children. I had just gone through the process with my mom’s death the year before, so I knew what needed to happen.
The funeral home called, seeking information for her obituary. I was embarrassed that I did not know the dates of her education, nor the official names of the institutions. I wasn’t too clear on where she was born, either. I remember running frantically around her home gathering dates from diplomas on the wall and trying to piece together what had been an amazing life (she was the first female optometrist in our city and had contributed to many state association projects and programs and had traveled the world extensively).
I felt that, in my upset, I had done her a disservice. I didn’t know what she would have wanted said and what was important enough to her to be included. It was tough enough that it found me creating a tips list that I want to share with you here:
- Schedule an hour to sit down with a notepad and record some special times in your life. If it helps, go decade by decade and see what memories pop up.
- Do some math and figure out the year and your age that the above events occurred and record those too.
- Think about what you hope people will say about you at your funeral and yes, write that down too.
- Plan your memorial gift recipient. As you scan your notes, look for a common denominator like ‘I enjoyed being part of a ball team from the neighborhood kids’ games to college football’ or ‘I was always creating something like new doll clothes or writing a play for school’. This kind of information can give you clues to causes you may want to support in life and in death. Record your wishes, knowing you can change your mind at any time.
- Communicate. Put your notes in a file called Funeral Plan and let your family know where that file is located. Have the conversation and talk about why you feel it is important to discuss now (‘ever since we lost your grandpa I have been thinking of how to make things easier for your mom’, for example)
Your actions around this kind of funeral planning today will bring peace of mind to your loved ones years later.
© 2015 Ann Leach
Life Preservers’ director, Ann Leach, publishes In the Flow, a bi-monthly publication that supports, nudges and informs both family and professional caregivers. If you’d like FREE tips on supporting yourself and others as they ride the waves of change that grief brings, visitwww.lifepreserversgriefsupport.com.