Please write down your final wishes

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seashanty's picture
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Please do this. Yes, you. All of you. My dear friends here on the forum.

My sister passed unexpectedly on Christmas Eve ... and after the shock and the sadness ... her immediate family grappled with what to do. Her husband has dementia and is still in shock. He will go with whatever is decided and does not remember a conversation about this. No paper has been found, no note, no mention. There were no pre arrangements. Her computer may hold a document but it is non functioning and decisions had to be made.

I am youngest of my siblings but the only widow ... she promised me way back when my husband passed to write down what she wanted as I was left to guess at my husband’s wishes. I don’t know if she ever did.

Her children turned to me for advice and I have done my best to help. Recalling conversations we had. There are things happening I feel in my heart she would not have wanted, not the least of which is a resulting bill exceeding $15000 so far for what they have planned. When her children disagreed with one another I suggested they do what one of them felt so strongly about. It’s a shame that in the middle of their turmoil they should (almost) quarrel. She was agreeable and would understand. But would be appalled at the cost.

Her service is not until Saturday as family must travel to attend. 

I sat down today and wrote down exactly what I would want to happen for me. Please do this if you have not done so, and put it with your papers. 
 

Hopefully no troll will jump on this thread to advertise, but I’ll take that chance. 

Thanks for reading.

 broken heart

 

 

 

ChrisandShelley's picture
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I'm so sorry to hear that. It makes for hard Christmas seasons in the future.

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Tom
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Good advice, and a reminder to say thanks to folk while still here.  My mother is failing. She's a tough North Shore Yankee, but the spars are by the board and the decks are awash, so to speak. My two brothers and my son are planning a visit in a week.  Sort of a celebration of life while she's still alive.  A chance to discuss all of what you mention. 

Morticia's picture
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We threw an 80th bday party for my mom. Invited family only. It was terrible. I kept having to leave because I knew I’d never see her again. I couldn’t talk to her, couldn’t even try to enjoy her company. 

 When dad was in the same place I was better prepared but he was also mad that I dragged the grandkids across the country to say goodbye. He was so upset with me that my poor daughter talked to him fior 30 minutes and then he told her to leave. She got back on a plane to go 3000 miles back home only to turn around and come back for the funeral. She was glad she made the trip

 my nephews were 10 minutes away and never saw dad at the end. I’m still not sure which is the best way to say goodbye.

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Tom
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Visit was a success, but very sad.  Weather was mild, everyone arrived. Got the hospice, legal, final wishes done (and pre-paid).  And talked; mother told stories of growing up on the shore.  One brother brought a recorder so we'll have some of it. I had discovered a tape she made of her father in 1977 a few months before he died, repaired it and digitized it so we all could hear her telling her father "ignore the mic and just talk, it would be edited", so we didn't have to say it.

I thought I might have a down day, if she was too tired, and I might drive "down" to meet Mort, one of my true sources of Innspiration these ten years, but couldn't.  Did get a great lobster roll and some nostalgic New England seafood. 

Sad, but it happens ready or not.  There was satisfaction in being a little more ready.

Morticia's picture
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Sorry you couldn’t make it and thanks for the compliment!

 We ended up going to see one of the grandkids. He’s turning 20 and given everyone’s jobs we have not really spent any appreciable time with him or his siblings. We’ll never make up that lost time, but we will see him when we can while he’s on this coast.

 Wishing peace for you and your family.

gillumhouse's picture
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So glad you went while you could visit. Too often it is only after it is too late. With my Mother it was too late at least 3 or 4 years before she was finally granted mercy. I still went once - my poor brother could not handle it, even with the warning of what he was going to see. He came for her final request - the closed casket. NONE of us asked it to be opened (but I did buy the fancy  satin nightgown & negligee with pearls for her last rest.). 

seashanty's picture
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Just two days and it will be finished ... the formalities that is. Yes, there was a will. But no mention of service.

it’s hard having so much time between her passing and a service.

I was asked to email any pictures I had of her so the funeral home could put together a video tribute.

I could have done one for them as I did for my father using a movie program on my computer, many of you have such programs.  I could have burned dvds for whoever wanted one. But they agreed and got busy assembling photos and listening to music options. I guess it’s a good distraction for her children and grandchildren.

I called the funeral director and asked what the fee is for this service. It’s an ‘ add on ‘ and a premium feature, but he would not discuss cost with me without an appointment. I did not mention my sister.

In a surprise move, the family is going to use a ceramic cookie jar my sister made at summer camp when her children were young and she volunteered there. Instead of an urn. Now that is something she would have been happy about. They will have to decide where the urn will reside and some are planning to keep a small amount of her ashes for themselves. 

Of course we all react emotionally, including me. They said ‘in lieu of flowers please donate to .......’  I will do that, but my sister loved flowers so I have ordered some in a vase. I figure I can carry them to the reception and invite people to take a flower home after.

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Hugs.  So sorry to hear this.  I know this is not the place for details, but reading around the edges it sounds like you are doing the best you can.  

I'll echo your ask that people have affairs in order.  It is the kindest thing you can do for those who have to navigate the 'what comes after' legalities. I'm in the process of doing these details.  

Thinking of you.

gillumhouse's picture
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That is lovely, SS.The flowers and giving them in her memory is beautiful. I hope she received MANY flowers while she was alive to smell them. 

It was a month between when Himself died and the Memorial Service. The day I wanted was the Arts & Crafts Festival (I realized that during discussion update at a Council Meeting) and Gillum House was the hospitality place for the vendors - could not do it that day. The following Saturday was out because the Lions Club had a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. So the Memorial Service was on Sunday afternoon. If you asked me, I could not tell you anything about what hymns were played or anything else. The cop daughter gave the eulogy. The church was packed, the Service was not overly long, and the food was delicious (we ran out of roast beef I think but there was also ham - NO CHICKEN!). I was wondering if we were ever going to get it done!

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heart

Lee2014's picture
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  So sorry to hear this!  

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Silverspoon's picture
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I'm so sorry for your loss.  Having lost my father very suddenly on New Year's eve many years ago, I still feel the pain of sudden loss along with the joy of renewal on the new year.  As I look back on that time, I realize that we spent way more money than we should have at his internment because we were all in shock.  Thanks for the reminder of writing down last wishes.  And then the next thing is to let your relatives know where that information is kept so they can enact your wishes.

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JimBoone's picture
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seashanty wrote:

There are things happening I feel in my heart she would not have wanted, not the least of which is a resulting bill exceeding $15000 so far for what they have planned. She was agreeable and would understand. But would be appalled at the cost.

 broken heart

Sorry for your loss, difficult time. Have lost both of my parents, but as an only child, at least no siblings to argue with over arrangements. Mom was practical, would be rolling in her grave still if I had spent that kind of money. Funeral providers are salespersons, showed the most expensive casket, then work down a notch, had to say, let's start at the bottom and work up, I knew my mom.  Me, I hope my kids know, they've been told anyway, I'd be content with the dumpster out back, the body is only the place I once occupied, spend on the living.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have said for years that IF they insist on burying me, if they use anything more than a cardboard casket marked down for water damage, they will have made a mockery of my life. 

This IS a serious subject and writing things down IS important. Seashanty, thank you for the reminder. Many of us NEED a kick in the head (or pants) to do things. And put that list in the hands of someone who WILL know where it is. Putting it in your Will is too late - that does not get read until after the hole is filled in. My dear friend from grade school who had cancer, not only had her funeral arranged, but even wrote her eulogy. She made it SO much easier for her sons.

Because of this post, I just went in and updated my obit (in my computer ready for date & place to be inserted). I eliminated my parents' names and my date of birth - I believe hackers troll obituaries and glean a LOT of info for ID Theft from them.

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Sorry for your loss, may her memory be a blessing.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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I’m so sorry.    

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gillumhouse's picture
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I am so sorry, M. Too many people are agraid of death. That is why they refuse to talk about it or make a Will. I have not written it down (neither did Himself) but we HAD talked about it. No I did not remember details of hymns for the Service but did do the important part financially.

My family knows what I want basically and they know to go to my friend for any other info - including the keys to my kingdom (computer). I have my obit ready to add the date, But I do have a Will. I agree it is MOST important. Daddy DID finally make a Will after I harped on him about it. My brother made a Will when his kids were little - never updated that could be found but it was better than nothing and made it possible to settle His estate fairly easily - even with stocks & season tickets. His kids & all named as Executors had to fill out waiver forms naming me as IT. None of them wanted to do it.

Accept the fact that we ALLwill die - make life easier for those left behind.

Morticia's picture
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Oh, M, I am so sorry. This is such a difficult time for all of you. Hugs.

 And, yes, so important to do this. I bought a book back in October where I will write it all down. There were so many things my mother told me that I was sure I would remember and then couldn’t when under stress of having to recall it.

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