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The ritual harkening the long-awaited approach of spring is upon us – March Madness.
People of all ages, incomes, and professions will be completing their brackets and winding down to the biggest decisions of all … the final four! Players and coaches have been working hard for months leading up to this finale.
The work and preparation leading up to the end of the college basketball season is not unlike what we all do in our professional lives. Most people work for years in anticipation of the day when they will retire and have the luxury of calling their time their own. The final five working years before retirement are typically the time to get your ducks in a row.
Most people approaching retirement begin to think about maxing their savings in those final years of earning. Many take care of deferred maintenance to the home and some even work on their estate plan. Fewer think about the final duck … their funeral. Planning and funding your funeral during those years is a great time to get it done. Especially if being frugal about this expense is of importance.
Some of the benefits to planning and funding a funeral in advance include:
It’s easy to find out everything you need to know about planning and funding a funeral. Just call the funeral home and ask to speak to the individual who takes care of advance funeral planning.
Plan early, live long… and have fun during your March Madness and beyond!
Why is food such a fundamental part of any funeral?
Food provides comfort and strength. A gift of food shows that we care. It’s natural to connect food with the healing process of a funeral.
When should you give food? What’s helpful without being overwhelming? How do you accept food graciously without having to buy a second refrigerator?
If you’re helping a friend who is dealing with the death of a loved one, a gift of food is appropriate before the funeral, at the conclusion of the funeral, and even weeks or months after the funeral.
As you think about your gift, be aware that your friend may not even know they’re hungry. They likely won’t be able to tell you what they want or need.
Take the initiative and make it easy on them. Call with a simple offer that can be changed to meet the needs of those on the receiving end. You might say something like this:
“I’d like to bring your family dinner tomorrow evening. I thought I’d bring you a turkey roast with a broccoli casserole. Will that work for you? I’ll bring dinner by around 10:30 a.m. It’ll be all ready for you to warm in the oven or microwave.”
When you’re on the receiving end, be gracious, but honest.
Your friends want to help you. If their offer won’t be helpful, give them an opportunity to make a different suggestion.
“Thank you for your offer, but we’re all set for the next few days. May I have a rain check?”
If you’re part of a close circle of friends, consider coordinating with others in your group to cover the family’s food needs on different days and with a variety of dishes.
Consider breakfast food. A basket with granola, muffins, or a breakfast casserole may be a nice change.
Sheet pan dinners, where the entire meal is cooked on one pan in the oven, are easy for both parties. You can find lots of recipes online.
If you don’t cook, consider giving a gift card for a local restaurant that offers take out.
Whatever you do, don’t forget your friend after the funeral is over. Most people find sitting alone at the dinner table one of the bigger challenges of their bereavement.
A loaf of your famous zucchini bread will be greatly appreciated and it’ll be even better if you can share it together over a cup of tea.
When death is near or has just occurred, there are so many things to do and yet there is nothing you can do. You feel helpless. You can’t make the person well or bring them back. But you know you will, very soon, need to make many decisions about the service, the final resting place, the music, food, flowers, donations, clothing and much more. Your mind is racing and oddly enough, at the same time, at a complete standstill. On one hand it feels like it is too soon to do anything. You’re just not ready. But at the same time, you feel the weight of all that is coming.
This is stress. It is hard. If you can, reach out to your family and friends and let them help you. Have your son or daughter get the older grandchildren involved in pulling together pictures and music. They are really good at this stuff. Going through the pictures brings back happy memories and it’s one of the most therapeutic chores that comes with funeral preparation. Let them do something that will help them - they are dealing with this loss too.
If would you would like family and friends to donate to a charity, put someone in charge of looking into that. Have your daughter-in-law pull together a few clothing choices for your final selection. Send your son-in-law to the cemetery or have him get the cars washed. You may want to delegate the task of writing the eulogy and obituary. Give someone the job of gathering information for the funeral luncheon or brunch.
Spread the work around. Let go, embrace help and give them something to do. You’ll feel better that things are getting done and they’ll feel better because they are involved and helping.
Condolences do matter and timing is important.
Do not put off contacting your friend to express your sympathy. Options and opportunities may have changes over the decades, but the importance of reaching out to those suffering a loss has not. A call or a written note is always just right. Social media is just fine under some circumstances and a personal visit is lovely. Additionally, many funeral homes have a place on their website to post condolences. This format allows your expression of sympathy to be delivered privately and quickly.
So, let’s start with the newest trend - technology and social media. It’s so fast and so easy to access. If you are texting a co-worker several times a day about other things, it would seem rude to not mention the loss of her mother. Do use private messaging forms of social media with people you communicate with regularly in this manner. Caution!! Be very careful to not send a public condolence message using social media if your friend has not made an equally public announcement of his or her loss on the same platform. Do follow-up your message with a call or personal note. Finally, do not use electronic messaging if the receiver is not a regular user of tech.
Hand written notes or cards made for just this purpose should be mailed to the person closest to the deceased or to a personal friend who has experienced a loss. Your personal note should be simple. Thoughts such as you are sorry for their loss, you are thinking of them in this difficult time or they are in your thoughts and prayers are appropriate. If you knew the deceased, you might share a brief story about the person who died and shares your connection.
Should you make a condolence visit? Oh, my yes! A personal visit is the only way to give a hug. However, do call ahead. Do keep your visit brief and do focus on the grieving individual. Please, don’t say you know how they feel even if you share a similar experience. There will be a time for sharing later. For now, just let them know you are sorry for their loss. Come as a listener not a problem solver.
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