Funeral Planning Completed: Check!

Foreign Service LifeInspiration
June 23, 2009

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I have a feeling that I’m going to get some flack for this post, but I’m going for it anyways.  Think of it as a Public Service Message (only via the internet).  Having gone through the recent process of completing our wills recently, I started asking around to get a sense of what age other people do their wills at.  I know that we’re on the front end due to our circumstances, but what has absolutely floored me is the number of people in the 40’s and 50’s that don’t have a will!  That got me thinking…. why do we avoid thinking about death so much?

When Nick and I first started doing our wills, I found that I had a lot of resistance to it.  He’s always teasing me about how I refuse to see the darker side of life (so sue me – I’m an eternal optimist!).  This time I was actually glad that he pushed me a bit.  I was all set to just return the standardized version of the will to the lawyer without any changes and celebrate that I had finished my will.  That’s about the time when he forced me to sit down and think about it.  And so that’s the challenge I put out to all of you today – think about the end of your life.  Do a will!  Write out some notes for your funeral!  Talk to a loved one about it… think about what you want to be celebrated for at the end of your life!  It will save your loved ones a lot of guesswork (and perhaps fighting).

I’m off my soapbox now and back to my story.  When I finally accepted that I was going to do this, I sat down and gave it 110% effort.  Nick and I talked about burials, memorials, if and how long we wanted to stay on life support and then we each picked an organization we wanted to set up an endowment at.  Where I got stuck though was that I couldn’t just skip to the burial and memorial without thinking about the funeral and what I wanted my life to have stood for.  Soooo….. if you’ll remember awhile back I wrote about the website My Wonderful Life.  I went back to the site and logged into the account I had opened (but done nothing with yet).  It was time.  And so I sat for 3 hours and planned my funeral.  The whole shebang – music, readings, the after-party (no pun intended), food and beverages I want served, the game I want played… and on and on.  It was a blast!  (And strangely similar to the wedding I just planned)   The biggest benefit from this process was that it shifted my perception of death from fear to acceptance.  I now feel fully grounded in what the purpose of my life is supposed to be and I honestly hope as many of you are there to celebrate my life as possible!  It’s going to be one heck of a party!!!

Just in case this post inspires you to go plan your own funeral or write a will, here’s a bit more about the website.  It’s a free site that walks you through all the aspects of planning.  It’s very user friendly and you can even upload the pictures you want used and write letters to loved ones that will be delivered later.  I appointed 5 “angels” to carry out my wishes.  They were notified by email that they are one of my angels and will receive a reminder every 6 month for the rest of my life.  Upon my death, they will receive access to the account, allowing them to see all of my wishes.  Pretty cool, huh?  It’s so much more fun to be focused on living rather than dying!

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