Reunions…Funerals…Birthdays…Holidays…Graduations…Anniversaries…Sports Championships…Etc.

Many events occur on a yearly basis. Having attended several of these events in the past year, a pattern of recurring thoughts has developed for me. The majority of us begin with planning far in advance. Invitations are picked and mailed, surprises decided on, gifts purchased, entertainment booked, speculations and statistics compiled and studied with bets placed. In some instances, preparations for the following year begin before the current event has even taken place.  Holiday decorations appear months prior to the actual season beginning.

Of all the above times when friends and families gather, funerals are the only ones which occur with irregular frequency. For most of us, there is no planning or preparation. For many of us there is a sudden, often fearful, moment when we realize how little we understand the process. We have no idea where to even begin with deciding what to do with the avalanche of responsibilities now thrust into our lives which require immediate attention. Some are fortunate to have family and friends who have recently experienced something similar and offer resources and comfort. Others are not so lucky and find the burden of these tasks rests entirely on them. Why is that? For me, it is a multitude of reasons why in my late 50s, I have just now developed and finalized my Will.  I have filled out a Five Wish’s form, and discussed the distribution of assets with my wife and family. Mostly because I never thought about it when I had spare time, I was busy enjoying my time off work. I was not looking at the problems I saw over and over again in the lives of those around me as “my” concern. Despite the efforts I made professionally and personally to help as much as I could, I still had not made any preparation in my own life for my family.

Today, I have a new hope. I hope that through continued discussion and planning people will come together for the intent purpose of sharing their wishes, discussing their options, listening to the experiences, and developing the plans for recognition and acceptance of the life (lives) that will continue on after we are gone.

Not to deny the process of grief, or to ignore the pain of loss, nor to minimize the hope of comfort, but to embellish the life we have now and lessen the despair and burden of those we leave behind as we make the next step along our journey. Together in conversations, we can celebrate our love, we can laugh, we can cry, we can wonder, and we can hope. We can know in our hearts we have done all we can do to now, to let others continue tomorrow.

Caring Choices welcomes the opportunity to assist in these courageous conversations of honor, hope, and love of those who share the desire to prepare ourselves and our loved ones.

(c) 2013 Caring Choices