Leaving Instructions Makes All The Difference
My dad never talked to his parents about their final instructions. He says that even though his mother sent her sons to church school every Sunday, when she reached her seventies, she confessed that she did not believe in death or resurrection or “all that stuff.” On her death bed, at the age of 87, she declared that she didn’t want to go to the hospital, rather, she just wanted “to go to that holy place.” Whereupon, she fell asleep and died.
Unfortunately, she had left no written instructions. Her sons knew she wanted to be cremated, but her second husband decided to bury her next to his first wife. She’s been rolling over ever since.
When they put a tombstone over her grave, none of the names were her given names. They added an “a” to her first name, misspelled her maiden name, and the latter names were acquired through marriage. Maybe if she had left some instructions, all that might not have happened.
My father’s conversations with his father-in-law were a little more direct. After relocating with his wife to care for her parents, and moving into the home of his terminally ill father-in-law, who was given 6 months to live every year for three and half years, talking about death became much easier. For example, when talking about redecorating the house, he told his father-in-law that his body wouldn’t be cold before replacing that awful pink carpet in the living room (out of spite, Leonard replaced the rug before he died). On the other hand, talking about specifics such as funeral preparations, the service he would like, and the contents of his will were much more difficult.
My mother’s mother was a better planner. She started having us tag the items in her house a full 20 years before she died. She also changed her will every year — pretty much every time a new baby was born or adopted, or a new marriage entered into. When she finally did pass away, she left a beautiful letter of final instructions that we read together as a family and enabled us to celebrate her life the way she wanted.
Many people don’t want to have the conversation, either with their parents or their children, and even more don’t leave any instructions at all. With My Life’s Message, you don’t have to have the conversation. All your messages, memories, instructions, and information can be passed to your family through your use of this site.