Sunday, April 22, 2012

T is for...


Okay, so we've already established on this blog that every single one of us is going to die.  We've covered burial and cremation and what we want to happen when that someday happens.  But here's the deal, you can have your totally awesome funeral all planned out in your head, or the fact that you want to die in the comfort of your own home there too, but if no one knows about it, how is that going to happen?  This is where trust comes in.  Who do you trust to take care of all the details at the end of your life?  More importantly, does this person know that they have been entrusted with this responsibility?

Never assume that another person knows how you'd like to be cared for at the end of your life. I want you to be brave. It all starts with a conversation.  It could be with your spouse, your partner, your bff, your sister, your brother, your child.  You get the point.  It could go like this...

You:  So, I've been reading this blog called the death writer and she
thinks it's important to think about the end of my life.  And I think she
may be right, even though it's kind of morbid.

Your (_______):  Oh, yeah?

You:  Well, I downloaded a form that is fairly specific about what
I want to happen if I should be incapacitated and unable to make
decisions on my own.  I think you're really cool and smart and I trust
you a lot.  Would you be my agent?

Your (________):  Uh, sure.  Can I see the form?

You:  Sure.  Here it is.  We just have to get it signed by two witnesses.
In case you are unable to do this, I've also picked ________ to 
be an alternate.

Your (__________):  Really?  You picked_________? They have
horrible fashion sense.

You:  I know, but they've got a good heart.  Hey, you wanna go
see a movie?

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!!!

So where you can get these forms?
Click on the links, peeps.

Death with Dignity is a great place to start.  They have a lot of research about end of life issues.  And here you can access a free Advance Directive for your state.  For a more specific account of what you want to happen as far as care at the end of your life, check out Five Wishes.  Be aware that this document is not legal in all 50 states, but their website is a great resource to check out.

Another thing to think about is a will.  You know, so you can dole out your vast fortune to all your friends and relatives  or even your dog when you die.  Don't think your kids aren't going to fight over who gets what, even if it's like a 40 year old television set.  And if you've got serious assets, you really need a will.  You can read about Leona Helmsley's unusual will here.

Well, kids, I hope you learned something today.  I also hope you have someone in your life that you can trust.
Hey, and if you liked this post, share it.  

22 comments:

  1. Excellent advice with how to deal with the end of your life. I think in the hands of someone you trust, this is a great idea to make sure you get your last wishes.

    Recently, I told my nine year old I wanted everyone to wear pink at my funeral. He refused saying he won't wear pink. I threatened to come back and haunt him!

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    1. I'm fairly certain I'm not wearing pink either.

      As you can tell, this is a conversation we've already had.

      There's something about becoming parents that makes you realise how important death really is.

      /Wes

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    2. Are you two married? Awww, you guys both like my blog! Yay!
      Yep, having kids really makes you feel your own mortality.
      Pink at a funeral? I say why not. If that's your wish, then people should honor it:) I think pink is a great color on men.

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    3. Yeah, it was actually Wes who pointed me in the direction of your blog.

      You're right. I never thought about death until we had our boys.

      I agree, pink works great on certain men. Plus it's a cheery color, and I don't want my funeral to be sad.

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  2. I love how you add humor into what is obviously a difficult subject to broach. Great advice - beyond joking verbally with my husband about these kinds of things, I have not made any formal plans. I know I should!

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    1. Well, I had a five wished form, but then I moved to Texas and it's not honored here. So, this weekend me and the husband are going to fill our advance directives out. My dad is visiting, so it will be a great way to get the conversation going about his wishes.

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  3. Thanks for your post

    http:/Ladysknight .wordpress.com/

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome and thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Oh, awesome. Honestly, I'm so glad this blog exists. I really love the smart, compassionate, no-nonsense way you write, and I wish more people had a resource like you in their life. Given that I don't want a funeral, I want an after-life party where everyone sings and dances and gets drunk and cries and tells stories about me, I should probably get one of these.

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    1. Aw, thank you. I appreciate that. You should do both an advance directive and five wishes. And be specific!

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  5. This is great info, Pam. Everyone should have their advance directives in place b/c so many unexpected things happen in life.

    I recently took a class where an attorney said Five Wishes should only be used as a planning tool, not as the legal document itself. It is too convoluted and can cause issues in the event your advanced directives or living will need to kick in.

    Great you brought this out in the open.

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  6. Yes, Five Wishes is a good planning tool. One thing I forgot to mention in this post is that your health care provider needs a copy of your advance directive.

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  7. Something else I believe is important is a Power of Attorney to someone you TRUST in case you are incapacitated and cannnot make financial decisions. Your finacial advisor needs a copy of this document.


    Good work Pam.
    Shiela

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's absolutely correct. I was just recently appointed as a friend's power of attorney and I have to file that with my local court house. Thanks for reminding me:)

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  8. I don't have a will and I know that's very foolish. Thanks for the reminder that I really need to get that set up.

    I worked for hospice back in the 90s and really saw some ugly fighting among families when a person passed away without clear instructions. It's unfortunate that is the case but it's definitely the reality many times.

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    1. I imagine that when someone dies it's such a stressful time for the family. That's why it's a relief to them if you have your wishes mapped out for them to follow. I have a feeling I'll be sort of numb and not thinking very clearly when I have a close personal loss. Not the best time to be making important decisions.

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  9. Hi Pam, just wanted to share this story. When my husband's aunt died "unexpectedly", I was rather disappointed that my husband didn't get special acknowledgement in the obituary as a son to her. A week after the funeral, when someone finally looked at her computer, the obituary that she had written had been left open for all to see. In her obituary, she had acknowledged my husband as her son, me as her daughter-in-law, and our two daughters as her grandchildren.

    You see, we thought her death was sudden, but she knew it was coming. And she also assumed that the first thing anyone would do was look at her computer. But it was the last thing anybody looked at. The person who wrote the obituary for the funeral did, however, send my husband an apology.

    But we can never assume someone else will know our dying wish. We have to tell them.

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    1. That's why I've asked both my parents the buried or cremated question and encouraged both of them to make out a will of some sort. I haven't gotten to the living will yet, but I'm going to.
      These things that we know we're supposed to do but don't because they make us feel a little uncomfortable are kind of like a constant to do list hanging over our heads. Or like a really yucky closet that we know we need to clean out but we keep putting it off. Once you finally have the conversation and get things in order, it's like wow! That wasn't hard at all and now I can go on living.
      Thanks for sharing your story Linda!

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  10. I'm so in denial about this for myself. My parents have both sent me wills. My husband's parents are handling this now because they don't want us to overspend when we're grieving. I can't even think of them dying.

    You're right, I need to deal.

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    Replies
    1. You can do it. It's just like Band Aid removal. It only stings for a minute and then it's over with.

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  11. Excellent post. I have advanced directive and will -- next thing I want to do is some kind of letter about what I want my life to have meant. I have to figure that one out first....

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    1. You could do StoryCorps for the National Archive!

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Comments are welcome and appreciated!