Death: A Checklist
‘The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.’ -Mark Twain
Death is inevitable. It will happen. There is no avoiding it. But if you are like most people, at this point you are already plugging your eyes, closing your eyes and going nah nah nah nah. As though this move will stop death………it won’t. Sorry. You can’t stop it from happening, but what you can be in charge of is what happens leading up to and proceeding your death. You get to have a say in what happens to your stuff, you and your service. The goal is to help you plan for your death the way you plan for your life. Planning for your death doesn’t mean you will die in the next 5 mins. Buying car insurance doesn’t mean you will get in an accident. Homeowner’s Insurance doesn’t mean your house will be vandalized. Planning for your death doesn’t mean you are going to die the second you are finished planning.
I have sat with many families in the midst of losing someone they love and having no idea how to proceed. The business of death is exhausting, the amount of work that your loved ones have to do after you pass away is tiresome. They have to let everyone know, telling the story over and over. They have to comfort others, when all they might want to do is crawl into bed and pretend it was all a bad dream. Your family has to call Social Security, the bank, your insurance companies, any place where you had a subscription. They have to get into all your online accounts like email, facebook, amazon prime, etc. They have to make sure you aren’t being charged for your cell plan, cable subscriptions and the list goes on. To top it all off they have to plan your funeral, your memorial service, the celebration of You. It will not ease the grief of your loved ones, but it will guide them through the business.
They won’t have to wonder what you wanted to happen to your things, who is in charge and if this is what you wanted. They will know. It is a great gift to give them, because it eases their level of exhaustion and gives them extra time to allow the loss of a person they love to become real. You also get to die knowing that everything will be taken care of -Your children, friends and family will be protected and safe. What a blessing!
Planning for Death
“A will can save one’s family from being put into a quagmired pit of legal conundrum, in case of death (which may even be untimely).” ― Henrietta Newton Martin
o Life Insurance
o Living Will
o Health Care Directive
o Health Care Proxy, NY State
o Organ Donation
o 5 Wishes
Your Passwords, Accounts (checking, savings, student loans, etc)
Other site to access
The Business of Death
‘It is not length of life, but depth of life.’ –Ralph Waldo Emerson
o Funeral Arrangements- Can be made at anytime.
o Religious Requirements- Ask your religious leader.
o Anatomical Gift– donate to a local medical school/university hospital
o Burial- in NY State this has to be done by a Funeral Director. Contact a local Funeral Home.
o Caskets- Contact a local Funeral Home.
o Eco- burials
Commonly Asked Questions
Planning the Service
“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone, the light remains.”- Unknown
o Celebration of Your Life
Who speaks; where will it be held; music; readings; photos
o The After Party
o In Lieu Of Flowers
o Obituary: Who are you? Name; Birthdate; Born where; went to school;
accomplishments; Family preceding you in death; surviving family
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder
o Legacies (words, advice and dreams for your loved ones)
Date of Birth: __________________________________________
Place for Service? _________________ Funeral Home? __________________
Readings (poems, religious texts, books, etc): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Songs/ Solos/ Prelude/Postlude ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Where to send memorials? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Special Instructions: What do you want to do with your ashes? Where do you wish to be buried? Do you want something special to happen at your service that isn’t listed?