Recently, my sisters and I had lunch with our mother in our childhood home in our hometown. My sisters live in Virginia. They had come to see the family, and to pick up my mother for a visit in Virginia. Of course, my mother spoke of the trip in the words that must not be said as “possibly the last time”. Therefore, it was no surprise when after lunch she set us down at the table. She gave each of us a notebook and a pen. She retrieved a folder that she has obviously been keeping for this purpose. It contained her life insurance information, her retirement savings account information, and names and phone numbers for the locations of her lock box, her undertaker, and a list of hymns she would like to have sung during her funeral.
Following the conversation about these final wishes, we spent some time looking inside her China hutch at some of her treasured items that had been passed down to her from family members. We discussed the likely recipients based on their lineage, and reminisced about their origins.
Since I live in a town nearby, I was already aware of most of this information and knew that I was tasked with maintaining and remembering these final wishes and dispositions.
My mother is a worrier, a skill that I too have honed against the whetstone of my own motherhood.
She worries about the weather, she worries about any of us driving on the highway, she worries about the pandemic, she worries about the sharp division in our country, and she worries that when she is gone she won’t have enough money to leave to her children. Although we have often expressed exasperation at this last worry, she has frugally saved and sometimes done without in order to make this a reality.
Mom lives in a very small town and lives a fairly simple life. She was an Avon Lady and worked at a bank. She still plays the organ at her church. She attended college while I was in high school. She makes the best red cake. She is my mentor and my friend.
Our mother has traveled to all 50 states. This is a fact in which she takes great pride. Her photo albums are filled with those experiences. She is trying to go through them to remember those times, and the drive that she and her husband had for reaching this goal. She knows that when she’s gone these photos will not be preserved, and has told us many times to “just back up the dumpster”.
Have you had The Conversation with your parents? Have you had The Conversation with your kids, or significant others? Preparing your family to honor the decisions you have made is important. But not as important as actually making those decisions so they don’t have to.
According to AARP, these are some things that you can do to get started.
- * Choose a photo you would like to use for your obituary (if you wish to have one)
- * Choose your burial plan
- * If you wish to have a funeral, choose the type of service
- * Write your life story for your family to preserve
- * Gather a list of the people who should be informed, including contact information
To read more CLICK HERE
There are also several tools that will help you. Start with the funeral home you prefer and discuss your wishes. They have workbooks and questionnaires to walk you through the process.
There are also online assistants: https://www.mywonderfullife.com/
As for me, I plan to become a diamond. A few years ago I learned about a service that will turn your ashes into jewels. What could be better?
CLICK HERE to read more on “Diamonds from Ashes”
CLICK HERE to read more about “Life Gem Diamonds”
CLICK HERE to read more about the “Top 5 Companies Making Diamonds from Ashes”
Whatever your final plans include, be sure to include the important people in your life. And for all the things you leave behind, tell them to call Golden Bridges.
Susan Scholz, Partner