We have probably all had the experience of going to a funeral or memorial service where the officiant clearly did not know the person who had died. Usually this becomes evident in the mispronouncing of a name or giving wrong information about the decedents life. It is also common for obituaries to contain purely biographical information, and often they can be quite dry. When the time comes for my service, I want much more than where I was born, and the names of my children. Personally, I would like for my obituary to be full of anecdotes and perhaps embarrassing stories about my life choices. I want people to have a good laugh.
The reality is our loved ones who must take care of these details generally are too bereft to come up with much comedy. This is precisely why pre-planning your service and all the details of how you want your body taken care of, obituary, and other death related details should be taken care of by you, before you transition. Death is Personal after all.
(Side note: I prefer not to use the terms die, died, or death. We are energy, and energy moves into form, through form and out of form. It transitions.)
As a Death Midwife or Doula, one of the things I provide is called a "Croak Box Party. This is an event where I meet with you and perhaps some of your friends at someone's home and guide through making decisions so that your children or other loved ones do not have to. This also ensures your funeral, wake, memorial and send off are done the way you want.
Some of the forms I walk you through are the different kinds of Power's of Attorney. (I do not give legal advice, merely the forms), making a list of your passwords, designating a funeral agent, creating a play list for music, writing your obituary (one of my favorites), and writing letters to your loved ones. All of this information is then placed into your "Croak Box", where upon your transition your family will have everything necessary to make sure your last wishes are exactly as you would want.
I particularly want to discuss a bit about the form to name a "Designated Funeral Agent". Appointing a designated funeral agent is a legal way for you to specify a person to be in charge of arranging your funeral, in accordance with your specific wishes. This could entail trusting them to follow through with your personal funeral preferences or allowing them to be in charge of all funeral decisions and the arrangement of your funeral. Appointment of a funeral agent trumps the normal next-of-kin rules as outlined by the state you live in (spouse, children, parents, living relatives, etc....). Funeral agents can be anyone: executors of estates, your spouse, one of your children, a parent, another relative, or a friend with whom you trust to carry out your funeral wishes. Consider the 2014 case of Jennifer Gable. She worked in customer service for Wells Fargo in Idaho and at the age of 32 unexpectedly had an aneurysm and died. Her friends were stunned, but they were even more shocked when they went to her funeral and discovered Jennifer was going to be buried as Geoff. In an age when expression of gender is forefront in our society, having a designated agent can keep those who may not agree with your lifestyle, orientation, or gender from taking over. Death is Personal.
There is really a great deal to discuss and explain within this process which the confines of a blog would not support. I encourage you to reach out to me if you are interested in having your own "Croak Box Party". I will bring cake, because if you are going to discuss your death / transition, (which I promise will not hasten the event) you should have something sweet to accompany the event. You get to choose the flavor, because Death is Personal.
Thanks for reading,
A Sense of Peace, Inc. (Facebook)