Because my mom died unexpectedly when I was twelve, and because she was a single mom with three little kids, and because she knew she was sick but didn’t know she was going to die…she had written nothing down about her life, about her stuff, or about her funeral wishes. We didn’t even know where the dog went to the vet. Ugh. It was shocking and truthfully, I’m still not over it. Not a day goes by…you know the saying.
All the decisions we made have haunted me. We put the wrong name on the tombstone. We didn’t know which dress was her favorite for the coffin. We had her service at the funeral home instead of her church. We never found her life-insurance. We never found her savings account. We were ill-prepared through and through. Plus you can’t stop crying. Neither can anyone. It just stinks. The whole deal just stinks.
Now, I am nearing 60 years old. Well past the age my mother died at 32. If there is just one thing I can do for my people, and my own peace of mind, it is to get all this written down. It’s the reason Christy and I wrote “Read This…® When I’m Dead.” Her mom has a terrible disease and keeps fighting. Each time Christy is called to her bedside to say good-bye, they go though a big book that has all the details they gathered for the final day. It has been updated many times. Because Christy and her mom were properly planning over the last 30 years, and my poor mom didn’t even know she needed to…Christy and I wrote the book.
Our guided journal captures your life stories, gathers details on your most prized possessions, and allows plenty of room for your final wishes. I just love this article in the Wall Street Journal (https://on.wsj.com/2Js1OBY) because it shares several stories of people and families who have been intentional and specific about how they want to exit this world. This gives way to how they want to be remembered, who gets what, where stuff is hidden, passwords, key pad codes, little black books, health details, plans for their animals, favorite music, and a million other things specific to you!
So here’s my plan: I am making a playlist and pulling together photos that I like and setting them aside for my family. I have planned my celebration-of-life and have already put the expected expense in our budget! Besides writing all this in my book and leaving it in a handy place, I am sharing the details with anyone who will listen. First, cremate me. Put 1/2 of me in an urn and bury next to my mom. I already own the plot. Have a quick church service by a pastor I love and who knows me well enough to make fun of me at my own service. He has promised to do so. My family will host a big celebration-of-life after the service in our neighborhood where fireworks (into which the other 1/2 of my cremains will be packed) and shot off into the night. You can sing that So Long, Farewell song from my favorite movie, The Sound of Music, as the fireworks light up the sky. Expect lots of black and gold, for my beloved alma mater, Missouri. Drinks, hors d’ouerves and the playlist with photos will be all the entertainment needed!
Oh yeah, I have a will, an ethical will, a trustee, account numbers for everything and a list of all my prized possessions with details as to how I got them and to whom they are being given. All details in my handy dandy book, Read This…® When I’m Dead. If you know me, and you like me, you are welcome to come. If you don’t know me or you don’t like me, save your self the trouble. I know who you are!
So what’s your plan??