As part of my hospice training, we were asked to consider five questions. Considering the questions made me realize that I had done a lot of death awareness work while managing the end of my grandmother’s life.
The hospice training was rich in observations. Two that stuck with me:
- In response to “when are you going to get over it?” I’m still in pain because my loved one is still dead.
- We never know the first day of the last year of our life.
What will cause my death and why will this be true?
An interesting one for me – my physical self will die from heart failure, my mental self may die from Alzheimer’s/Progressive Dementia and my spiritual self will live on through my wife, children and writing.
I’m not sure of my cause of death, simply looking at my family tree and guessing.
In terms of life after death, it seems obvious that I’ll continue via every interaction I’ve ever had as well as my writing.
While I can’t touch them, my dead friends and family continue to influence and live inside me. It will always be that way.
Who will be impacted by my death?
I suspect that the longer I live, the greater my circle. However, there is a paradox in that sudden (and unexpected) death can have great impact. I continue to think about my good friend, Stu McGavin.
My friends and family will be impacted – I seek to make their grieving more bearable by letting them know that, notwithstanding how I die, I had a fantastic life.
What do you want your funeral, or memorial, to be like?
I wrote a previous article – invite my friends and family to a memorial service that is set up as a memorial weekend, rather than a funeral. Focus on helping the living process my death and create a schedule of support to my spouse and kids (for two years after my death).
Use the opportunity of my memorial weekend to plan ongoing grieving support for the living.
Start a letter to say goodbye to one of the special people in your life.
I love you very much, thank you for your love and sorry I was grumpy at times, you were perfect for me.
To honor the memory of our love, take one aspect of our relationship… teach it, live it and pass it on.
What is the most important thing for me to do or complete before I die?
Ideally, live long enough to have a positive impact on my kids in a manner that they will remember into adulthood.
If that’s not going to be possible then I’ve left enough writing to point them in the right direction.
Above all else, be kind.