The lessons a good old fashioned story teaches
1. No preplans and the consequences
2. The importance of friends and family
3. The needs to healing a funeral provides
Life End – Being Prepared
Nessa and Fredie have been watching TV waiting for their mother to return so they could all have supper before going out to the fair. Suddenly their TV show stops and they are faced with this scene of a house falling on their mother – she is dead!
The two run out of the house to where the event happened, only to find many of the villagers there watching and giving their opinions. Glinda the good witch saw them and goes over to them. She is so helpful and kind even though the children know their mother disliked Glinda intensely, perhaps even hated her. They were glad Glinda was there with them. She told them what had happened to their mother and offered to help them both. The two children were so thankful. Their mother was the only family they had. Glinda was sharing with them all the things that would need to be taken care of. They could hardly think of what to do next. They were both in shock.
Glinda asked them if their mother had ever discussed with them her wishes for when she died? They both shook their heads and replied No, they said when asked, their mother had always replied that she would never die, she would live forever and they weren’t to worry about it.
A very common mistake, Glinda thinks, everyone more or less hopes that but we know we will all die someday, we just never know when. We think that we can deal with it tomorrow, but of course, we know that day never comes.
Glinda assured them that it will be okay. Many families are reluctant to speak about their own deaths, no one really likes to talk about it.
I wish we had would have had a discussion of some sort, says Nessa. It would make all these decisions easier for us. My head hurts already and I just don’t know where to start, there are so many things to think about and to do. We wish we had close family nearby but after father left mother, she became so bitter and hateful that she soon alienated all her friends and any family she had many years ago. So they had no one essentially. Glinda reassures them that she was there for them, their mother had once been a close friend. Fredie gives her a big hug and thanks her for standing by them at such a time. What did they need to do first, he asked?
Glinda tells them they should all have a cup of hot sweet tea. They were all in shock and the sweet tea would help them. She goes off to prepare the tea and asks Nessa to get a pen and paper so they could write everything down and make a plan of what needed to be done. Glinda asked them a total of 87 questions. All necessary and part of the planning process.
After several hours they had made their list of decisions that were required to be made upon someones death. During that time, Freddie had found the black box their mother kept all her important papers in under the floor boards. To their surprise, they found that their mother had actually made a will after all. Everything was left to the children. That was a relief Glinda thought, at least everything will not be tied up in Probate waiting for a judge to release the home and all their mother’s assets. The children were at least safeguarded there. There would be some money and a roof over their heads at least.
Now came the hard part, Glinda said they would need to think about whether their mother would have wanted to be buried or cremated? A pity their mother hadn’t completed that part too. This was the hardest on the children. It would be hard for any family member to have to deal with. Then they would have to decide what type of casket, where they would bury her, and would there be a funeral? Glinda felt she would leave these questions until tomorrow. She suggested that the children could come home with her so as not to be on their own. Although they were 19 & 20 and considered adults, they could stay there alone she thought but it would be nicer for them to have someone else around. They agreed to go with her and off they went.
After breakfast, Glinda asked the children those hard questions and after many tears, stops and starts they made their decisions and now they could go to the funeral home to finalize them.
The funeral director was a friendly person and soon took the two under his wing to help them out. He did a lot of the work, and asked only minimal questions to spare them further pain. They had decided to have a funeral service, although they didn’t expect many people to come, they felt they needed to have it, some kind of ritual to speak and to remember their mother by. The Obituary for the paper was drafted and all the arrangements were finally completed.
They left the funeral home feeling very drained and very unsure of what their lives would look like now. Everything had changed. It was a tragic time for them Glinda thought. She was glad she had decided to forgive the old hatreds that had built up over the years between the two once friends. This allowed Glinda to help her old friend’s children.
The service and funeral was held and their mother was finally put to rest. The service had turned out to be so comforting, additional seating had to be brought in as many had come to support them. They had been given so many meals that they wouldn’t have to worry for a while about cooking. Best of all this man had introduced himself to them – he was their father. He had always wanted to be a part of their lives but their mother, who had her reasons, he said, had insisted that he kept away. So he had, not wishing to incur her wrath. Now they could come and live with him.
Like all good stories there is always a happy ending.
The moral, plan your funeral ahead of time so as not to leave everything to your loved one to decide. They will be in grief and not at their best to make decisions. It is a times like this, you don’t pay attention to costs. You just want to get it over with and out of there. A costly mistake. Take time to have these conversations with your loved ones over the years about your wants and their needs. Yes, it is uncomfortable but it can all be done with love.