This week I’m taking the liberty of submitting my own question to the column. What should we make sure we take care of before we die? This question is very fresh in my mind at the moment.
A few weeks ago my dad died. Thanks to those of you who sent emails and left messages of condolence. As far as such a horrible event goes, it could have been a lot worse. We’d just driven to a sweet wedding of a niece, near Ithaca, N.Y., and he was able to see most of his large brood. The wedding was a family affair — held in a shut-down-for-the-season 4-H camp, with homemade decorations, a pig on the cooker, and lots of music and laughter.
When he passed away 12 days later, he was surrounded by much of the family. Mom got to say goodbye. His brother was there, and representatives of my generation and some of the grandkids. He died peacefully, enveloped in love. His funeral was a true celebration of his life, with laughter and tears in equal measure, just as it should be.
But his passing got me thinking about how we can prepare for our own death in a way that doesn’t add to the already crushing stress of those left behind to take care of things when we go. A death in the family comes with a huge to-do list, and those of us left behind are in no shape to deal with it. So how can we make it easier for those left behind? Planning ahead really helps.