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Picking up the Pieces of Death. Wills, & Estate Planning.

Updated on December 17, 2010

On May 13th, 2010, I married my husband. On May 16th, 2010 my husband passed away. Suddenly at the age of 48 he died of a heart attack. No signs, no symptoms, nothing. He was out mowing the yard and was found by a neighbor. Yes we were married three days. We lived together a while before we were married, but legally only married three days. And ever since I have been picking up the pieces of death.

I am writing this to inform people that they really need a will, a last will and testament. They need to discuss their arrangements with loved ones. I had no warning and we had never discussed death. He was a retired veteran of almost 22 years. He had written an article on Facebook about wanting a military funeral with full honors. If not for that article, I would have never known that. And that was the only preparation I had. His wishes from an online article, nothing more. We had talked about our future, but that only included buying a house, where to live and such things as that. And in those three days of being husband and wife, we did not even mention death.

So when it came time to plan his funeral, I had no idea what to do, and certainly not in the midst of grief. It was like a madhouse, and thankfully my sister did most of the arrangements. I was beside myself trying to cope with a death, instead of thinking about marriage and how to spend my future with him. So now there were funeral arrangements to make, where he was going to be buried, and the entire nine yards. His family had to be contacted, since they lived out of state. We had to go through piles of paperwork just to find their numbers.

We had to decide so many things in a very short period of time. And it would have been easier if we had discussed this prior to any thing happening. You never know what is going to happen in life. But it does. And instead of picking up the pieces after someone’s sudden death, trying to make sense of it all, it would have been easier if we had discussed this beforehand. I have complied a list so perhaps you don’t have to pick up your pieces that are scattered all about, in an absolute mess.

Yes I know we don’t want to think about these things, but we must. And believe me it will save you more heartache if it happens to you. I stood there at the hospital in the middle of my own grief, and the Dr. came up to me and told me that my husband was an organ donor. I stood there with my mouth wide open, not able to say a word, and the Dr. made the decision for me.


I cannot stress how important it is to discuss this with your loved one before hand. Do not wait!

·         Funeral and Burial Plans;

·         A list of family members, friends, current phone numbers & addresses;

·         Last Will and Testament, Living Will;

·         Safe Deposit Agreements and keys;

·         Nuptial Agreements;

·         Life Insurance Policies;

·         Existence of Trust;

·         Pension-retirement benefits;

·         Old tax returns;

·         Prior Gift Tax returns;

·         Marriage, birth and death certificates;

·         Divorce documentation;

·         Computer records regarding books of a business or personal assets;

·         Bank statements, checkbooks, similar documents;

·         Notes receivable;

·         Titles to motor vehicles;

·         Leases;

·         Securities and list of securities;

·         Any documentation of business ownership or business interest;

·         Health Insurance, make claims for the final illness; and

·         Unpaid bills.



 Get all your necessary items together, you can buy an inexpensive file folder, and have them at hand. Everything right at your fingertips. All the papers needed to make the experience a tad easier. Or if you need help with your family, friends, or even to take to an attorney. You will have it right there, you don't have to second guess what your loved one would have wanted. You will already know.

My husband's funeral was accomplished, he was buried with full military honors.

And I am still picking up the pieces of his death, almost seven months later.

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist." ~Epicurus~

Do you have a will?

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    • LaurieDawn profile image

      LaurieDawn 7 years ago

      Thank you Poohgranma. It was a devastating shock, but with others that supported me, and helped me through my time of need, I knew that I must help others that may be going through simliar situations.

      I hope you have a blessed day.


    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 7 years ago from On the edge

      What a kind and gentle heart you have to push past the pain and use your devastating experience to cause others to pause and realize what they must do. I applaud your writing and even more, your instinct that tells you how to heal yourself by helping others. An honor to read. Thank-you.

    • LaurieDawn profile image

      LaurieDawn 7 years ago


      Thank you for your wonderful compliments. I merely write from my heart, and experiences. I thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hubs. I have always been taught, what you learn in life, share, pass it forward, and learn from life. I am just glad that I can share with others.



    • KillerIdeas profile image

      KillerIdeas 7 years ago from Phoenix Arizona


      Once again you have written a brutally honest and moving hub. Once again, as in all your writings, you take deep personal losses and turn them into tools that you offer to others without any regard for yourself. Once again, I am amazed at your creativity, honesty and willingness to help others.