My family and I can discuss death in general terms; in a there’s two things certain in life —death and taxes kind of way — but the nitty gritty? That’s hard. An only child, my parents have removed much of the guess work for me by arranging their own end of life plan. From what I can glean, I just need to show up, and considering I’m crying just typing this, that might be best.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I can’t imagine leaving my children behind. When my husband and I visited our lawyer to write our will, I sobbed uncontrollably in his office for over an hour. I’m talking big, hyperventilating, nose-running crying. When we left, he passed me what remained in the tissue box to me, and gave my husband a “good luck” pat on the back on the way out the door.
All of this is to say, is that talking about death brings out all the feels in me. As you can imagine, when I was invited to join a discussion about death with Arbor Memorial, I balked. Instinctively, I know this is a conversation I need to start having though, so I accepted and then immediately ran out and picked up waterproof mascara. There was no way I was getting through this chat without tears.
Our conversation was guided by Linda Stuart, a Life-Cycle Celebrant. Linda has an incredibly calming aura about her, and immediately eased us into a light-hearted conversation about our deaths. Wait, what? I was not expecting that.
Linda pointed out some very obvious truths to us but there were two key points that really stuck with me. The first obvious, but often ignored point, is that there is no bigger event in our life, after our birth, than our death. When you think about all the planning, anticipation, and celebration we put into welcoming a life, it’s seems odd that we don’t do the same when saying goodbye to a life.
The second point caused a major shift in my thinking; my death is really not about me, it’s about those I leave behind. Which brings me full circle back to my parents. In trying to eliminate all stress for me when they die, they’ve also not asked what I want when they pass. For example, they’ve requested cremation, but then what do I do with the ashes? I could bring them home, but then what happens when I die? Do my children then take over their ashes? Would they want to? What if they didn’t?
After a person is gone, questions can no longer be asked or answered.
This is where an Arbor Funeral Home Manager, like Shannon Burberry*, can guide you. As a Funeral Manager, she has seen everything, and can help anticipate what you may not. Arbor Memorial has a four-step pre-planning solution for end of life arrangements. Pre-planning can help you and your family, answer all the hard questions, and even some of the lighter ones too.
Death is sad, but it’s also a celebration of the life you led. I already know my funeral will have a party atmosphere, but now it’s time to make sure it also builds in what my children will want. While I’m still a hot-mess talking about my eventual death, I feel much better about having the conversation with my family, knowing it will ease their minds. Make sure you watch the video in this post to help you start the conversation in your home.
*Sidebar about Shannon. As someone who cried ten times writing this article, I simply can’t imagine how she does this daily. My expectation of a slightly morose funeral directed was shattered with Shannon’s zest for life and happy demeanour. Honestly, I wanted to go have drinks with her after the shoot. I say this, not because, I was girl crushing on Shannon (which, d’uh, I totally was), but because if you have pre-conceived notions about anyone who works at a funeral home, you need to shake them. Nobody has a better appreciation of the fragility of life than them.
This tear-splattered post was sponsored by Arbor Memorial. All opinions are mine.