Preparing To Die, Preparing For Your Own Death
Preparing to die is not always something only the elderly and terminally ill have to contemplate. True the very young may not even realize the truth of death, and many of us feel it may never happen to us, no matter what our age. But some preparation now saves heartache later.
I'm writing from the perspective of one who knows sooner rather than later will be my departure date, but that isn't something for readers to grieve over. All of us, at any time, can be called home. Consider these some tips from one who has had the dark angel's wings brush her more than once.
But I am here to make you laugh. Enjoy the LOL-worthy videos. All writing and photo negatives are my own work. If you wish to use anything, knock yourself out. Just give credit and a link back, OK?
The Boring and Hard Stuff
First off, I am no lawyer and this is not legal advice, but get your house in order now. I don't care if you are only 20. Do it, now! In many states you can get a free form and make that your will. Some areas you can get specific in. For example, cousin Mike gets your Fender Stratocaster, your mom gets your University ring and so on.
Make sure any assets will go to who you want them to. A car, a bank account, and the like. Got debts? Find out what happens to them. People will find your estate, and your estate will have to pay no matter what advice friends give them.
Make sure your burial wishes are written down, have orders to do with the estate as you please left with your lawyer. Make sure s/he knows revised versions don't come from you and to follow his or her copy.
You should ideally talk to a family member or friend about this, so you have witnesses among the living. Even better type out your instructions or make a video and give it to the same lawyer holding your instructions.
This will give you peace of mind because you will know who will get what. If you die with no will some states take over estates, claiming at least half your assets. That's what happens where I live. Also, make sure your life insurance or other policys are current. Leave a care packet for the living.
Include all the needed info such as bank accounts, investments, payments to be made, home owners insurance and the like. Some funeral homes or memorial parks give books like this out when you make arrangements.
It is much nicer for the living to know exactly where things are and to have a guide written or typed by you. Heck, tell them what to do with clothes and other things that will feel overwhelming.
The Fun Stuff
Yes, there is fun involved. For one, you get to use all the gallows humor you want. You also can tell long-term investment planners and other annoyances to shove off. You also get to feel free, since oddly, there is nothing left to fear if you plan well.
Take time to do what you want now. Not in a 'I gotta hurry and cram it all in!' way. But as a reward for a life you did well with, no matter what you might think. Now it depends of course how death is coming for you.
I'd be ill-advised to do anything heart-pounding unless of course I want to go faster. But a nice trip, buying an extra goody, and eating pretty much what I darn well please are all perks of the lifestyle.
Have a party with family, but keep it fun! Not so long ago humans assumed the dead stayed close, and kept ancestral altars. My family does, so while you still grieve you know your loved one will be back. Remind your family of this, provided you think it is true.
Monty Python- The Funniest Joke in the World
My Fave Reads and Such on Death
Spend time with your loved ones. If they are all ancestors, and your religion permits, consult them. Is there a last favor you can bestow before joining them? Make any arrangements. Oddly I've found they are caught between joy of an early reunion and crying their eyes out.
If you serve any spirits, God/desses a Higher Power, get straight with them. Make sure they will be cared for and looked after as per your religion. No this isn't butter up your patron saint time, it is making sure s/he is looked after when you are gone. At least one nice Mass, yes?
If you honestly are worried about what happens to those you'll leave behind, trust in your Higher Power. Remember you are going Home to see the Angels now, they are stuck with the Cubs, as the song goes.
Steve Goodman: A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request
I've loved this song since I heard it on Dr. Demento. Death can be funny, if you think about it. Now sing it with me: Do they still play the blues in Chicago..."
I Was There and Back, For Reals!
So was my mom, and it is no big deal. My dad too, come to think of it. She saw family, I got marching orders to return, which I rather resented. Dad saw stuff but refused to believe it. Once you've died once there is no fear, except for those you will leave behind. I'm eager to return (not so eager I'd hurt myself, mind you) but did all the boring and hard stuff so I could enjoy the fun.
Honey, you are talking to, well reading the writing of, a person who talks with dead people. Of course there is something there! I note with amusement, even atheists have Near Death experiences, but try to explain them away.
I'm not sure where you are going, or where even I'm headed, but I know it will be awesome when we get there, one big party. If you are among the living facing a dying friend or relative, tell them from me, it rocks over there.
As a family member once said "It HAS to be nice. No one ever wants to return."
PS So now you know where your relatives went. They didn't stop loving you, there's just this totally awesometastic party on the other side.
The Not So Grim
Phhhffttt, what's he goin to do abuot me laughing? Take me earlier? I'll haunt him forever, and I'm an annoying git, I am.
The You Stuff
There are going to be things that don't even worry me, that I didn't mention that you feel mean everything. Deal with them the best you can. We don't live in a Disneyfied world. Hurts aren't always forgiven. (Trust me, not every person accepted my good intent. Honestly I'm too tired to have enemies right now.)
Or as an awesome online poster said: "You get ready for death by abandoning all bad deeds and behaviors. Stop hurting others, if you used to, even by hurting their feelings by hard words or by an evil eye. Try to collect the forgiveness of all those who used to deal with you. Return back all things, money, properties which are originally not yours or those you took in an illegal way. Try to clean & clear yourself from all life debts, promises and words you gave to some people. Try to forgive all after asking for their forgiveness. If your parents are still alive, try to express your love to them and ask them to forgive you if you have ever hurt them. Think of your house in the Hereafter. It depends on the type of person you were during your life." --yusraipek
I did the best I could to make amends, make sure my house is in order, and so on. Of course some people will take advantage of you! Don't let anyone try to sell you a consultation for $100 to answer a religious question or so on. Don't let people sell you miracles either. That is God's lookout, not theirs. He wants you healed, you will be healed, no credit card or money order required.
The Lady and the Reaper
Realize Our Time Was Never Up to Us
I could kick off ten minutes from now, or ten years. Nobody knows for sure. But then, so could everyone else. Not to be a downer, but we are never handed a voucher for a long and healthy life. Even with the time I've had, I've outlived countless others.
I figure if our mom said 'Yes' to us being born there is no kicking and crying after that. Some of us don't even make it that far. We never know the cards we've been dealt until after. I got to be born, grew up, lived as an adult. I am content.
I've honestly knew even from a child I could one day kick off, so maybe a few decades prep made me, I don't know, used to the idea. I don't long for death, but I can tell when he's on my doorstep or I've felt his robe brush me.
We all seem to know when death is near. It isn't always in old age, and sometimes the Angel seems to change his mind and retreat. Part of what I did was write the Faces of Death series on Squidoo to help others face him, or her as you please.
Knowing death as a friend, or at least someone you can talk to helps some folks. Some talk to an angel, a Saint, to a God or Goddess. But I figure if I help at least one person see Death used to be a figure beloved by our ancestors it helps.
Yes, our ancestors counted on Gods, Goddesses, angels and more who collected the dead and took the Home. No one is ever lost, forgotten or abandoned. Death, whatever his face, sees to that.
George Carlin - Death and Dying
A bit long, but funny! I agree you go where you expect to go, keep in mind some adult content, but funny stuff.