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One of the realities of losing a spouse or a parent is the impact that event has on living arrangements. Are we living in the “right” place? Is the house too big? Is it too far away from family? Will my surviving parent be safe where they live? Should I move to be closer to mom or should mom move closer to me?
These are tough questions and they come at a time when emotions are running so very high. They also come at a time when income has likely decreased, perhaps requiring a change be made sooner rather than later. Conventional wisdom says wait at least a year before you make any big changes to your living situation, but the reality is waiting a year may not be financially possible. If you are able to slow down and let the dust settle a bit, that is no small blessing.
Really, it all boils down to three considerations: happiness, safety, and finances. The surviving spouse needs to be in a place that not only works financially, but also is safe and happy. You are going to need to use both your rational mind and your emotions if you are to make the best decision.
On the face of it, the financial consideration seems to be the trump card. After all, you have to be able to afford where you live. However, it is not always that simple. When the happiest place is affordable but not the most frugal choice, then maybe happy trumps financially smart? Decisions based on both emotion and rational thought are usually the best decisions.
That emotional happiness factor also impacts the safety issue. Perhaps the safest living arrangement isn’t going to be a happy situation? In that case, put your rational mind to work on finding a way to make the happy place safer.
You have to find the best fit answer for your family. As you are weighing those three considerations, resist the temptation to base the decision on what you think may happen or will happen down the road. Consider the wisdom of making decisions in the present, based on present circumstances. So, if dad is safe, happy and can afford to stay in his present home maybe no change is necessary … for now.
Even months after the funeral it’s not uncommon to feel just not exactly right. We all lose our way from time to time. Things happen and we can’t find our JOY. It’s not really so much gone, as it is misplaced. Life feels dull and the days seem to drag. No matter what the circumstances, if you look for it, you can find your own personal JOY again. However, you will have to work a bit to find it and reconnect.
To begin, you must put on your little super power cape and take control. You’ll have to take ownership of your joy. Terrible things happen to us in life. Illness of a loved one, your own illness, even the death of a loved one, there really are a lot of things to be unhappy about. You can, however, experience joy in spite of adversity. Make a positive decision to take your personal joy into your own hands and get it back!
Start by connecting with your senses, hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight. Take them one by one and dig in. What sounds bring you joy? Maybe it’s the sound of little kids on the playground, or the Beatles, or waves crashing on the beach. Get out a piece of paper and make a list. You may be surprised at how many little tiny things you enjoy related to your senses.
Once you have identified things you like to smell, touch, taste, hear and see, you need to make a plan to get at least one of those things in your life on a daily basis. Turn on the music you love, buy yourself a bouquet of flowers, bake one little chocolate chip cookie every day! What the heck, they make that frozen cookie dough for a reason! Get up early once a week and see the sunrise. Take a walk. Put joy back in your life in its simplest forms. Just go for it. It’s not that hard.
Once your senses are starting to wake up again, start to think about gratitude. What are you thankful for? That time your dad took you fishing, that your grandmother taught you the names of all the birds, fireworks on the Fourth of July or the beauty of a tree. The list is endless, humbling, and there is joy in gratitude. Be grateful.
It’s YOUR JOY take it back.
What happens when no one decides what to do with the six pounds of cremated remains that are left following the funeral or memorial service? You might be surprised at some of the unusual places where they show up.
For example, let’s just say you buy a swell little red two-seater sports car and drive that baby home. Of course, you are going to give her a good sprucing up. When you get around to cleaning the trunk you find a non-descript little plastic box. Close inspection reveals it’s full of a chunky greyish white substance. On the bottom of the box you notice there is a label and a name! OMG! You have what’s left of someone you never knew in your trunk! Or, you buy a house and it looks like someone left a nice vase in the attic … you get where I am going with this, right? As life moves on sometimes well-meaning people lose track of the box or urn they were looking after.
Thrift stores and Goodwill are often the recipient of cremated remains. And guess what? They don’t want your great uncle Henry.
How can this be? Well, family members are not always comfortable with the scattering plan the deceased requested. It’s hard to dispose of what remains of someone you loved. Perhaps the plan wasn’t even realistic. The sand trap on the seventh hole is really not an easy place to “scatter” six pounds of crushed bone fragments. It’s not sand. All too often, cremated remains find their way back to the funeral home years after the funeral service took place. It’s the boom-a-rang effect, leaving the funeral home with the task of tracking down a living relative.
The moral of this story is simple. When someone you love tells you they “just want to be cremated” ask this question, “And then what shall we do with your ashes?”. If you are thinking about cremation don’t leave your plan partially complete. Talk to your funeral director or advance funeral planner (both can be found at your local funeral home) about your options for after the cremation. Make sure the family members you designate to carry out your final plan are comfortable and able to take care of the final resting place for your ashes.
Finally, if you have a family member’s cremated ashes in the attic, trunk, or somewhere unusual and you need help with a final plan … call the funeral home. They can help you with choices.
There is a woman who once thought that she’d like to have a hologram made of her wearing an Obi-Wan Kenobi robe for her funeral. Her four sons grew up during the Star Wars era and similar to Obi-Wan, she would love to pass along the wisdom she acquired over her lifetime to those she loves. And yes, she would also like to have the last word! So who should this woman see to discuss and share her wishes? Should she talk to an attorney? Her financial planner? Or a funeral director?
Both her attorney and financial planner suggested they could help but she wasn’t convinced based on her past experience. When her parents died the funeral was over before she even started to work on the finances and the estate. And there was so much attention paid to the final, final part…burial or cremation. She decided to contact her family funeral home and she met with Sue, the advance funeral planner. As it turns out, helping people get their funeral plans in place is Sue’s only job at the funeral home. And help this woman Sue did!
They talked about what this woman thought she wanted for her funeral plans. They talked a lot about her family – her husband, her four grown up sons, their wives and their children. Sue helped this woman see that although her sons would appreciate the Obi Wan idea, her husband would need something a little more traditional with a spiritual element. They talked about the cost and how she could keep that under control. They also talked about the burial and cremation options. Sue explained to the woman that if she wasn’t ready, she didn’t need to make a decision about burial or cremation. The woman ended up talking to her family about it and she was able to get her wishes recorded at the funeral home and she decided to use a payment plan. With her plan in place, she can go in and change her plans at any time (e.g. if she decides she wants to be cremated at a later date) and Sue will help her with that.
Sue also suggested the woman begin gathering those words of wisdom that she wants to share at her funeral and bring them to Sue so she can put them in the file. On the day of the woman’s funeral, the funeral directors will print these words of wisdom and hand them out to those attending the funeral. As it turns out, holograms aren’t available just yet, but Sue thinks they may be prior to this woman’s death.
In the end, leaving the finances to the financial planner, the will & estate planning to the attorney, and the funeral planning to the funeral home made the most sense for this woman.
September 12, 2018 | 0 Comments | Category: Veterans
September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments | Category: Honoring
15 POEMS AND QUOTES TO HONOR GRANDPARENTS THIS GRANDPARENTS DAY
Compiled by Jenny Goldade