The PBS News Hour covered a story on our digital real estate. Do you know how many people die every day in the Facebook world? According to the News Hour story, three. That’s a lot of ghosts haunting the social media world of Facebook.
Planning for a death is not a popular event, but it is a rare and precious gift to your survivors. I recently spoke at an event where the question and answer time centered around how to adequately prepare for death. Giving away your possessions today is just one sweet act you can do. I tell a story in my book about receiving my maternal grandmother’s wedding band while she was alive and how tickled I was to receive it from her. Rather than leaving all your stuff for your kids to wade through (or fight over), give some of your treasures away for birthdays or holidays. I’m not advocating getting rid of all your material possessions, but I bet there is a lot you’re not using that could be used by someone else.
There are numerous details to act on before and after a death. And some, like ordering 2-3 dozen death certificates, is not something that we think of in the midst of grieving. If you have Kat Reed’s book, Begin Here, she will walk you through what to do. You can also download a podcast of our interview and hear her story. For a more detailed guide, check out Scott Taylor Smith’s When Someone Dies. Each chapter starts with a quick reference guide, then dives into details throughout the chapters. His advice is straightforward, clear, and will no doubt save you time and money! I look forward to interviewing Scott in the near future.
If I were to suggest one place to start: get your Health Care Directive in order. Understand how you want to be cared for in the event you cannot speak for yourself. This will help you take the second step: have a conversation with your folks & loved ones. If you’ve filled out your own Health Care Directive, you can share that with your parents and move down a checklist of getting other details in order. If you need guidance in preplanning your funeral, I would recommend a chat with Jeanne McGill. She is marvelous.
This isn’t morbid. This is life! Once you have talked about this, then set it aside and concentrate on living, knowing that you have given a wonderful gift to your survivors.