Planning Ahead: what we leave behind

I couldn’t resist using the above photo, though this post doesn’t focus on the details of legal wills.  The quip made me smile for itself – and then also that it’s attributed to Anonymous.  Before a death, any time we get near the topic of divvying up belongings after a death might make us want to go into an anonymous mode if we’ll be the inheritors.  On the other hand, since we regress after a death, not dealing with the topic ahead of time tends to set up a higher degree of conflict with others. As a relative of mine told me, “Grandpa said he wasn’t going to bother making those decisions and his kids could just fight it out afterwards. And, boy, did they!!” It’s tough to take this on in so many ways.  I offer the following ideas and information in the hopes that they may be tools [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: Death Cafes and more

Maybe you have ideas or questions related to death that you haven’t had a chance to explore out loud. Maybe you’re not sure how to voice these thoughts or would like to hear the thoughts and questions that others have for themselves. It’s generally noted that we have a death-denying culture here in the US and that this is true for many other countries, too. Enter  The Death Cafe– started by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid in London in September 2011. “At a Death Cafe, people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death… Our objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’’” They’ve estimated that 6,289 Death Cafes have been held in 56 countries – approximately 63,110 people talking! “A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: insights from bereavement researchers and therapists

In the Boston area, Mourning Dove Studio started with me working directly with families. I wanted to be as competent as possible while helping them, so I began taking workshops and an annual weeklong seminar. Eventually I realized that some of the work being presented would be very helpful to know when planning ahead and in the immediate time after a death. The 5 Stages of Grief model from Elizabeth Kubler Ross is the classic work known by most people. Many presenters I’ve heard let us know that this model has come to be understood more like commandments, whereas they are merely one framework offering some understanding and guidance. It’s important to know that her model does not mean that grieving must happen in a linear fashion and to know that there are other models with useful perspectives to offer us.  The dual process model is well respected, for example. In future [link to read more…]

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Living on Borrowed Time

Planning Ahead: The most important resource to know about

Thursday, April 26 – When I first heard about the Funeral Consumers Alliance, I was stunned. The FCA is an amazing national non-profit organization with volunteers forming 70 local chapters in 46 states. It has a long, interesting history, to be sure. But the reason the FCA is the most important resource you should know about is because of the wide range of ways in which they support you! They don’t provide financial support, but they do provide information and support for any other aspect of planning and carrying out a funeral, including information about related topics such as body donation. On both the national and the local chapter websites, you can find lots of information and you can also contact them by phone for help. In addition, the FCA monitors the funeral industry. They keep an eye on upcoming legislation that would affect consumers and they will assist you [link to read more…]

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