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Source: (consider it) Thread: Preparing for death
Evensong
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What is the best way to prepare for death when you are old?

What is the best way to help others prepare for their death when they are old?

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Ethne Alba
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in answer to the second question:
imho, in this area the skill of patient listening is greatly underrated.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death when you are old?

To prepare for it when you're young.

(And no, I'm not being flippant.)

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Gee D
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Like many people, I am not afraid of death but of dying. The 3 am massive heart attack is not called the millionaire's death without reason. I don't mind the idea of a gentle fading away over some years ( as happened with Madame's father), or a quick move to Alzheimers or some other dementia. I don't like the idea of a stroke and then lingering on. As Adeodatus says, preparation in early life and trying to live in accordance with His teaching is the best way.

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Boogie

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My Mum died a very slow death over six years. The final two weeks were the 'best' as dying slowly involves various stages which are very natural and surprisingly copable with (by the ones dying, not so much by the ones watching) I found some articles which really helped - but I bet many hospice sites would help in the same way.

Here is an excellent resource.

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Adam.

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death when you are old?

To prepare for it when you're young.

(And no, I'm not being flippant.)

I completely agree, which is why my pre-confirmation retreat begins with a short talk entitled "Remember you will die" and then a time of prayer in a cemetery.

But, as the time gets nearer, I think there are two things which stand somewhat in tension with each other. The first is minimizing the amount of unfinished business left behind. Some of that might be practical. I know a middle-aged woman who knew she was dying who wrote a letter to her husband on all the things she took care of each year that he'd have to take over (Christmas card list, extended family birthdays, kids' uniform shopping, what to do when their daughter needed a bra, etc.). Some will be much deeper: seeking reconciliation, or just renewed contact, with a family member or friend who has drifted away. Working on forgiveness as one who will always stand in need of it. Developing the virtue of hope through prayer.

The second is to realize and come to accept that there will be unfinished business, that we will die as loved sinners, in need of grace, and that that grace is bountifully available to those who seek it. We're seekers in this life, not attainers. We're not saved by our cv. Letting go and letting God can be uttered as a bland platitude, but that doesn't mean there isn't something meaningful there that can be clung to.

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Uncle Pete

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Having been near death several times when I was younger, I fear my initial reaction was that of a grasshopper. The later-life épisodes scared the heck out of me (once I was past the danger of immediately dropping dead), so my attitude, since then, is that of an ant. Preparation is, quite literally, a lifetime affair. I have tried to make sure that all my affairs are in order, that my funeral is prepaid. My spiritual life is between me and God, yet I try to remain constant, even advancing, in that area. Most of my family feel that this is not necessary, but I do, and they are not the ones for whom whose deaths I am preparing. That being said, within careful constraints, I confess that, while prepared for the eventuality (and what is more certain than death?) I continue to enjoy myself while I can. As my situation changes, I accept that I am closer to death than not, and that I am responsible for making sure my affairs remain current, and that my death, when it happens, will not cause undue hardship for my survivors, beyond a small burden for my executors.

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la vie en rouge
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My ex-housemate’s mother died after being gravely ill with cancer for several years. The doctors had told her there was nothing they could do but nonetheless she had set nothing in order with respect to her finances, estate, funeral arrangements etc. It made her death into a horrible, messy, expensive trauma for her relatives. I can absolutely understand why a person might be in denial in this situation but it definitely taught me how important it is to straighten out your worldly affairs. That’s an appalling thing for your grieving relatives to have to face.

The other thing I learned is that if I am ever that ill, I am damn well having a DNR. I don’t want my relatives’ final memory of me to be seeing me carted away covered in tubes for a failed resuscitation.

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hatless

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How can you set your affairs in order? You can't claim insurances until you're dead. All accounts and policies will have to remain in place. You will keep using gas and electricity, owing tax, buying and wearing clothes, paying subs, having uncompleted plans for the future. Isn't it in the nature of death that you get ripped out of the middle of life and others have to sort things out?

You could leave your policies and membership details for this and that in easy to find places, I suppose. You could write down your wishes for your funeral, though I tend to the view that funerals are for the bereaved not the dead.

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jacobsen

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I have to accept that barring a few items as souvenirs, most of the things - books, etc - which meant something to me, may mean nothing to my friends and family. It will be a bonanza for the local charity shops. That's easily sorted out; I did it when clearing my father's house.

It would be good to be on terms of reconcilement with other people, and to have loving contact before death, but that is not always possible. As they say in the Antarctic, take nothing in, take nothing out. Ultimately, we only have ourselves to offer, and it will probably feel inadequate.

What would be helpful, if I can manage it, would be to live in the mindfulness that nothing on this side is forever. Rabbi Blue wrote that life is a learning experience with a compulsory course in giving up. Occasionally I can go along with that.Otherwise, I kick, scream and fight. Sitch norm.

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leo
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'live each day as if thy last'

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
How can you set your affairs in order? ...
You could leave your policies and membership details for this and that in easy to find places, I suppose. You could write down your wishes for your funeral, though I tend to the view that funerals are for the bereaved not the dead.

Make sure your will is current. Make sure family members know where your money and savings are. And while YMMV, I had experience of helping to arrange two family funerals within the space of a year. My mum had left her funeral wishes, my brother hadn't. Arranging her funeral was far less traumatic.

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Brenda Clough
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Simply having all your financial papers in one place would help your survivors a lot. If all your credit card bills/papers are in one folder then they can systematically go through and pay off and close out the accounts. Likewise with your other debts: the mortgage, the car. If all your tax forms are in one drawer or box or folder, then the tax ramifications will be easier to work through. If you own a house, having all its payments/issues/documents in one place will help with the sale or transfer of it after you die.

In other words, you would like to be organized, in a way that most of us are not. Most pitiable of all are the survivors of the people like me, who file by stacking thems up in piles.

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Full Circle
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quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
How can you set your affairs in order? ...
You could leave your policies and membership details for this and that in easy to find places, I suppose. You could write down your wishes for your funeral, though I tend to the view that funerals are for the bereaved not the dead.

Make sure your will is current. Make sure family members know where your money and savings are. And while YMMV, I had experience of helping to arrange two family funerals within the space of a year. My mum had left her funeral wishes, my brother hadn't. Arranging her funeral was far less traumatic.
I agree completely with all of the above but would also add that it is important to have designated someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in case of incapacity. Someone with whom you have discussed what is important for you.
Macmillan have a good leaflet (actually around 50 easyread pages) for this in UK (different versions for the different legal systems) but the key information would probably help anyone to plan and consider their preparations for dying and death.

I think the key issue when supporting people is to take it at their pace, allowing them to talk about the topic when they wish but also to avoid if they cannot cope in the moment

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Teilhard
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I like the wise advice given in Ecclesiastes (9:7-10) --

"Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do.

Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the [spouse] whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going."

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Schroedinger's cat

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All of the practicalities are important, but from a mental or psychological perspective, I think the only way to deal with anything like death (the same applies to redundancy or the loss of a family member or pet) is to prepare when it is not immanent.

If you can think it through and deal with it for yourself in a comparatively calm and rational way, then I think it becomes easier to deal with when it happens.

I do not fear death. I do fear dying, slowly, painfully, unpleasantly. I don't fear the death at the end - sometimes I yearn for it, to avoid the bits before it.

I think once you have gone through the process of losing someone, it makes it easier, because you know that you can survive it. In terms of your own death, going through it mentally - considering what it means for you - can help. I also think that not having a fire-and-brimstone faith helps. If you fear hell, death must be terrifying. I don't, not out of arrogance, but out of trust.

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Adeodatus
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I've worked in healthcare chaplaincy for 20 years now, and from the start I began to specialise in end-of-life care. Simply being in the company of people who are nearing death has (I hope) done an immense amount to prepare me for my own. I've seen a lot of different kinds of dying - a handful that will always stay in my nightmares, and a few that made my heart sing with just how bloody inspiring those people were. But mostly, I come away from an encounter and a little part of me is thinking, "Yeah. I could do that" - because whatever else is going on around them, these are ordinary people doing an ordinary thing.

Maybe a lot of our culture's anxiety about death lies in our lack of familiarity with it.

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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
How can you set your affairs in order? You can't claim insurances until you're dead. All accounts and policies will have to remain in place. You will keep using gas and electricity, owing tax, buying and wearing clothes, paying subs, having uncompleted plans for the future. Isn't it in the nature of death that you get ripped out of the middle of life and others have to sort things out?

You could leave your policies and membership details for this and that in easy to find places, I suppose. You could write down your wishes for your funeral, though I tend to the view that funerals are for the bereaved not the dead.

Ok – practical example from the situation I referred to. My ex-housemate’s family are originally from Guadeloupe. When her mum died, there was a big debate about whether she would be buried over there or here in Paris. Someone asked my housemate what her mum had wanted. Turns out they had never discussed it (taken the terminal cancer diagnosis I think they were both in very severe denial). It would have saved her relatives tremendous heartache if she had been able to look her mortality in the face and left instructions about what the funeral arrangements were to be. The funeral was also considerably more expensive because she hadn’t taken steps to seek appropriate financial advice.

Another example: in France, there are different marriage “regimes” depending on how the couple are going to share their property. Under the most common one, “communauté des acquets”, which we are going to have, property acquired during the marriage is shared, but legally each partner keeps as their personal property anything which they owned before the marriage. My fiancé bought a house before we were together. Imagine that one day we are living in said house and he dies. If we haven’t got the necessary paperwork in place between now and then (we need a thing called a Deed of Donation to the Last Survivor), I could be left homeless (he has children from a previous marriage and under French inheritance law they would be entitled to throw me out).

In respect to the above situation, we went to get the advice of a notary and she made an interesting comment: “In this job, we’re killing people every day.” In France all inheritance, property etc. documents need to be notarised to be valid, so a large part of her work revolves around getting people to think through what would happen if they died and helping them to make suitable arrangements. She spends a lot of time helping people to think about things they tend to not like thinking about.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
My mum had left her funeral wishes, my brother hadn't. Arranging her funeral was far less traumatic.

Yes. You didn't have to go through the disputacious ritual of trying to agree on "What mum would have wanted".

[ 08. April 2015, 10:25: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Brenda Clough
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And the deceased, when she was alive, might have had ideas you had never considered. We thought to ask my father what he would like, and he said (as everyone expected) that he wanted to cremated and scattered.
But then my mother piped up. "What about me?" It developed that she wanted to be with him. I pointed out that the odds of both of them dropping dead on the same day were not high -- women in our family tend to be fantastically long-lived.
So now the plan is keeping Dad's ashes in an urn on the mantelpiece or something, until Mom goes and can be scattered with him.

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The Rhythm Methodist
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Originally posted by Brenda Clough:

quote:
So now the plan is keeping Dad's ashes in an urn on the mantelpiece or something, until Mom goes and can be scattered with him.
As Mrs Rhythm Methodist and myself are both keen anglers, the plan is that whoever goes first gets their ashes mixed in with the groundbait. Perhaps we'll be better at attracting fish in death, than we were in life.

I'm currently being irradiated (on a daily basis) for cancer, and while the prognosis is generally quite good, the smart money has to be on me taking the less active role in that final fishing expedition.

So it's been interesting reading people's thoughts on preparing to die. I should own up, and say that I've done nothing about the practicalities. Absolutely nothing, unless you count informing the church of which I am pastor, that I'm being treated for cancer. They have been truly wonderful....without exception. And while I'm statistically more likely to recover than to die, it has certainly focussed my mind on the fragility of life, and what needs to be done. For myself - knowing that others would easily sort out the practicalities - that has all been about my relationship with God, and taking every opportunity to serve him. It's all about demonstrating his love, too - and my illness has indeed opened a few doors for that.

I'm with those guys upthread who really don't fancy the prospect of dying, especially in an agonizing way. And yet I have felt a genuine peace in recent weeks. I've been thinking that I gave my life to Christ, and it is his to do whatever he will. There's such verses as Paul saying " to live is Christ, to die is gain". And Job - "Even though he slays me, yet will I trust in him". I'll never be anything remotely like those good people, but I do feel uplifted by their words.

So the joy of my present condition is that (while it has not begun to encourage me to sort out practical considerations) it has given me a renewed passion and sense of urgency for God's work. I would suggest that is the perfect preparation for death, whatever the outcome of my medical condition.

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hatless

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I'm still not convinced we can do much to smooth things for those who have to tidy up when we've died. There will inevitably be loads of phone calls to make and forms to fill in. Agencies, companies and people have to be told.

The wishes of the dead in relation to funerals and disposal of the body are only wishes. They are not binding, and can only settle disputes if everyone accepts them.

I think death is untidy, and rightly so. I resist the desire that we should go without a ripple.

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ProgenitorDope
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Well, I'd say the first step is realize what parts you hadn't thought about before. (I can check that off the list now it seems).

If I had time to prepare, I think the only thing I'd actually want to do is jot notes about the novels I want to write someday and hope they get into the hands of someone who can actually write.

After that, I'd probably just talk to my family about it, see what they'd want. I've always been of the impression that funerals are for the survivors: the deceased doesn't care by that point.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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I think that all of the advice here is lovely. But this avoids the key issue I've observed: fear. Personally what I worry about most in regard to fear is suffocating. A bad way to go for the dying and a tremendously unfortunate visual and auditory image to have in one's memory as a survivor. The best way is in palliative care or with a nurse at home who has morphine and drugs which keeps the airway open.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I'm still not convinced we can do much to smooth things for those who have to tidy up when we've died. There will inevitably be loads of phone calls to make and forms to fill in. Agencies, companies and people have to be told.

This may be true where you live, but where I live, there is a lot we can do for the people who come after us.

Where I live, if the probate assets of the estate are worth $150,000 or more and there is no spouse to inherit, just probating someone's will can take 8-12 months, assuming there is nothing contentious or especially complicated to deal with, it costs thousands of dollars, and you may have to employ a lawyer to get you through it. If someone dies intestate it can be even worse. But if you have a living trust, your heirs can avoid probate, which will save them a lot of time, money and effort.

When my father died, I was astonished at how much there was to do, at how much work a death creates. But his affairs were very much in order and that saved my mother from having to deal with a legal nightmare, something her own mother was not spared when my grandfather died unexpectedly some years earlier.

Yes, when someone dies, you have to make a lot of phone calls and do a lot of paperwork. But if you have to search for the title to the car or to the house, if you can't find their insurance papers, if you don't even know if they made a will and if so where it is, if you don't know anything about their financial affairs and a search of their desk and files doesn't even tell you where their bank accounts are -- and if you're doing all this in the midst of hideous grief, well, yes, things could have been made more smooth for you.

[ 09. April 2015, 06:16: Message edited by: RuthW ]

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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I'm still not convinced we can do much to smooth things for those who have to tidy up when we've died. There will inevitably be loads of phone calls to make and forms to fill in. Agencies, companies and people have to be told.

The wishes of the dead in relation to funerals and disposal of the body are only wishes. They are not binding, and can only settle disputes if everyone accepts them.

I think death is untidy, and rightly so. I resist the desire that we should go without a ripple.

I disagree with you very strongly.

I have given a practical example of something my fiancé and I need to have covered in the event of his death (a notarised Deed of Donation for the house). Are you really suggesting it would be better to just embrace the messiness of death and risk me ending up homeless?

Saying “death is messy, no point trying to make it less so” strikes me as a deeply selfish way to go about it.

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Boogie

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My Mum made things 100 times easier than my MIL did (as in life, in death).

MIL left no wishes for the funeral. Her home was hoarded to the gunnels and had to be gone through piece by piece as she had a habit of hiding expensive jewellery in weird places (we found a £500 ring wrapped in knickers in the washing machine [Roll Eyes] . So we had weeks of work to sort her home out and guesswork for the funeral.

Anyway - I am grateful she left a will and we now have a bungalow in a good area to rent out, bringing a nice bit of spending money in every month. Silver linings and all that.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I think that all of the advice here is lovely. But this avoids the key issue I've observed: fear. Personally what I worry about most in regard to fear is suffocating. A bad way to go for the dying and a tremendously unfortunate visual and auditory image to have in one's memory as a survivor. The best way is in palliative care or with a nurse at home who has morphine and drugs which keeps the airway open.

Yes, I have watched two people drown slowly in their own fluids. Not a good death.

I don't think anything can assuage fear of that happening to ourselves - short of voluntary euthanasia.

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Brenda Clough
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It is important to (1) decide what you want, or what you fear, or what is essential for you, and (2) tell somebody about it.

In the case of the suffocation thing: write it down. You have something like a Living Will, or a sheet of medical instructions for end of life, or a DNR (do not resuscitate) form in your medical records? If not, ask your doctor about it. Stick your written instructions about the suffocation onto that sheet of paper (or have them paste it into the electronic records). You know how you feel, you know what you want -- the only hope of getting it is to tell people.

Do it now, while you have all your marbles. A church friend of ours passed away last year. In the last year of his life due to his medications he became forgetful. He wrote at least three or four wills, some of them dated, some of them not, plus several codicils, amending them, again of varying vintage. He did not file these in any particular place. The heirs would come across them in clearing out the papers in the den, and all the lawyers would have to circle around again. It was brutal (and could easily have led to sibling lawsuit, since various people were disinherited at each go-round).

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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The living wills and orders etc haven't actually come into play when the family organizes it and all agree. It's not really talked about, and Canada is to have a law about assisted suicide apparently according to the Supreme Court (I don't support), but it's quite clear that palliative sedation is what we're doing mostly now. And these have been good deaths, as good as they can be for those we've lost in the last 12 years.
The one that bothers me most is from 1987, before this.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Teilhard
Shipmate
# 16342

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One will do well to prepare an "Advance Directive," giving clear and specific permissions and prohibitions for medical/surgical treatments that one will accept or decline in event of being unable to give informed consent at the time …

At age 66, in good health and of sound mind, I have a "DNR" order in place with my spouse ...

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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Yes, have one for you, and your spouse. Be sure your medical persons have a copy, and also any younger person (the kids) who might suddenly wind up being the decision-maker when your partner is deceased and you are incapable.
A copy of all these type of things could profitably be assembled in a folder labeled 'Death' so that it is easily found. As with your will, your insurance and so forth you might wish to update it every time something major happens in your life -- you remarry, or somebody dies, or you move.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I'm still not convinced we can do much to smooth things for those who have to tidy up when we've died. There will inevitably be loads of phone calls to make and forms to fill in. Agencies, companies and people have to be told.

The wishes of the dead in relation to funerals and disposal of the body are only wishes. They are not binding, and can only settle disputes if everyone accepts them.

I think death is untidy, and rightly so. I resist the desire that we should go without a ripple.

Death is, in some ways, untidy, to be sure. Few things argue more strongly for decent preparation than that very point, in fact. And I think you're mistaken in thinking that such common sense preparation is somehow a 'desire that we should go without a ripple'. Most funeral organizers will probably tell you that many of the most hyper-organized funerals are very far from being without 'ripples'!

And, of course, there are some ripples that most people are happy to do without, too. Especially at such a time.

It's a fact that in most cases we can smooth things for the people we love, by properly organizing some details ahead of time.

I've seen numerous instances where the forethought of the deceased has done precisely that. I have been one of those next of kin who had reason to be thankful that funeral plans were made, paperwork updated and sensible discussions had. In the case of my father, eg, exactly because his death was 'untidy' in that it was unexpected and we were all so shocked and hurt - it turned out to be crucial, miraculous in fact, that all the groundwork for undertaking the funeral and dealing with the after-math had been done. I can't imagine how much more dreadful - unnecessarily so - the whole thing would've been otherwise. The 'ripple' of his death was reverently and appropriately commemorated; and the unwanted 'ripples' of having to flail about making choices, finding family consensus, he right coffin and cars, scrabbling about for forms and cash etc, were not allowed to make a hellish time even more hellish.

And contrarily I have seen too many instances where the lack of preparation, on behalf of the deceased (for whatever reason) has caused chaos, distress and endless months of expensive probate and other needless problems.

I can promise you that the 'best' funeral visits are nearly always the ones where the next of kin can say 'here's what uncle Fred wanted for his funeral' - as opposed to the visits where you spend two and a half days arbitrating between a handful of factions who all 'know' what should be done!

There is also the practical point that for the person planning their funeral, and also getting their paperwork sorted out, this can be an essential part of them receiving some peace of mind - whether their wishes are followed or not, afterwards. At the time when they need to know they still have some control over their own lives, and can gain some reassurance of empowerment, it can be vital that they are enabled to be active in this, the last of any physical activity they can possibly have anything to do with.

That it gives their relatives, in addition, a smoother path to follow during a chaotic and difficult time, is usually a bonus. Unless deceased and next of kin have a history of 'problems' of course!

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Irish dogs needing homes! http://www.dogactionwelfaregroup.ie/ Greyhounds and Lurchers are shipped over to England for rehoming too!

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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I do know of people though who just throw up their hands. It is impossible for them to deal with it so they declare, "The kids will have it all anyway, so let them deal with it." Not say8ing this is a good idea.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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My father is about to die. I'm not sure how long it will take or its course, but he has a tumor that is too difficult for the Doctors to remove, given his advanced age and state of health. He has vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and a few other issues.

I can't be sure that he knows what he faces. I think he does. Maybe he knows sometimes but not others. That's the way of it, I am told. Dad gets up allot. He's not sure why. He just stands up, and sometimes he walks off a little way. I ask him where he's going and his response is invariably "I don't know". I was with Dad at mealtime at the nursing home, and I was watching a woman. She had been given a meal and a knife and fork. She is a quiet woman, someone who is always well turned out. I watched her put her face in her plate of food to eat it, before the staff member came back.

I think those who are able to prepare for death, their own or another's, are lucky. I think the rest of us are too busy with living. Death and its heralds take us unawares, and we are left shocked and afraid. Many of us don't cope well, and stress renders us dysfunctional.

I don't think I can prepare my father for his death. I mine his memory instead, asking him for names and places. In part I'm trying to exercise his mind, in part I'm trying to remember him.

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Human

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:

I don't think I can prepare my father for his death. I mine his memory instead, asking him for names and places. In part I'm trying to exercise his mind, in part I'm trying to remember him.

Bless you and your Dad simontoad [Votive]

You might want to post on this thread. I found it a huge support when Mum was dying. It was a place where I could say things I didn't feel I could say in RL or on FB. It's also a support thread rather than a discussion thread.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 13030 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
L'organist
Shipmate
# 17338

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I don't know how to prepare for death.

Neither does my friend's son-in-law, who has just been told that the post-operative chemo and radiotherapy he had last year, far from shrinking the remainder of the tumour seem to have gingered it up and that it is unlikely he'll see his 41st birthday in December. His daughter is going to be 8 next month.

All I can help with at the moment is trying to give organist friend support by finding deputies to play for her so she can be with her step-d.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

Posts: 4950 | From: somewhere in England... | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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I thought as I was putting out the washing that sometimes one doesn't so much prepare for inevitable death as the next ten seconds.

Thanks for the referral boogie.

Like my Dad's mind, sorrow washes in and out.

[ 11. April 2015, 02:29: Message edited by: simontoad ]

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Human

Posts: 1571 | From: Romsey, Vic, AU | Registered: May 2014  |  IP: Logged
Nenya
Shipmate
# 16427

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
I thought as I was putting out the washing that sometimes one doesn't so much prepare for inevitable death as the next ten seconds.

Sometimes the next ten seconds is all we can do. [Votive] for you and your dad.

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They told me I was delusional. I nearly fell off my unicorn.

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Teilhard
Shipmate
# 16342

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Preparation for death (at any age):

Listen to:
"Dust in the Wind," by Kansas …
"Help Is On Its Way," by Little River Band … and,
The Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy …

(Yes, in that order …)

Posts: 401 | From: Minnesota | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
que sais-je
Shipmate
# 17185

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death

Read Montaigne:

If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death

Read Montaigne:

If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.

I like it! [Big Grin] I hope death will give me enough time to post a farewell on the four forums I go to! In case not, my neighbour knows there is a note on my computer to that effect.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 3083 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Recent discussion with someone who does geriatric research included that family members commonly want to sort out the surviving spouse after the death of their husband/wife. Often this involves selling house or otherwise moving, such that the survivor moves to some form of lower maintenance dwelling, sometimes with other supports such as cleaning, some meals etc. The discussion indicates that these people are often dreadfully lonely, with the query as to health implications.

Thus preparing for death would necessarily seem to involve deciding what happens to you if your spouse dies.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Teilhard
Shipmate
# 16342

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death

Read Montaigne:

If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.

I like it! [Big Grin] I hope death will give me enough time to post a farewell on the four forums I go to! In case not, my neighbour knows there is a note on my computer to that effect.
Something like, "So long, and thanks for all the fish … " … ???
Posts: 401 | From: Minnesota | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Teilhard:

Something like, "So long, and thanks for all the fish … " … ???

Good idea! I haven't actually suggested what she should say! [Smile]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Laurelin
Shipmate
# 17211

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
What is the best way to prepare for death when you are old?

What is the best way to help others prepare for their death when they are old?

Why wait until you're old? [Confused]

A dear friend of mine recently died at the age of 44. [Frown]

Pen Wilcock has written a very good book about this - quite raw and gritty, and very sensitive towards people of all faiths and none, despite (or perhaps because of) her strong Christian framework:
http://www.brf.org.uk/news/spiritual-care-dying-and-bereaved-people

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"I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor." J.R.R. Tolkien

Posts: 545 | From: The Shire | Registered: Jul 2012  |  IP: Logged
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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I agree with Adeodatus about being around dying people being helpful. In my family, everyone visits each other - we're a bit of an anachronism for NZ in that most of the extended family (some 1500 or so of us) still live in the same area our ancestors moved to over 100 years ago. By the time I was 15 I'd visited over 20 elderly relatives in their last weeks, and by the time my dad died when I was 27, I must have been to hundreds of funerals. I have a comfortable relationship with becoming elderly (although I don't think anyone likes arthritis or dementia) and I know dying is part of having a life.

My partner's family are not like this. When her father died last year, it was only the second family funeral she had ever been to, at the age of 59. Her parents are the first elderly people she has spent any significant amount of time with. Her family tend to live very long lives, but it has been a horrible shock to all of them.

She has noticed the huge difference between her mother and mine in terms of attitude to aging and death, and (fortunately for me) has decided to model herself on my mum. So tomorrow we are revising our wills, setting up contingency plans around powers of attorney, and working out funeral plans. Neither of us is planning to die in the next 30 years, but as childless people, we don't want anyone having to faff around trying to work out where our accounts are and what we wanted done with our musical instruments.

Simontoad, I like your story - we're doing the same with my m-i-l. We recently found a letter to her, dated 1944, from a Frenchman, telling her what he had been doing to avoid the Boche. She can't remember what she had for lunch, but she could remember Lucien!

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

Posts: 3702 | From: Aotearoa, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fineline
Shipmate
# 12143

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I agree that it's better not to wait till you're old. Working in elderly care homes, I've come across so many elderly people who are genuinely shocked to be old and frail and unable to live independently. So often they say miserably 'I never imagined this happening to me.' I guess it's easy when you're young to see old age and/or death as something too distant to really apply to you. I've found working in care homes has made me a lot more aware of the process of ageing and of dying (and of course not everyone is elderly when they die). And working in hospitals with stroke patients has made me aware of the importance of having a living will, and letting family know your preferences in situations where you are unable to communicate or may not be of sound mind.
Posts: 2375 | From: England | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
rolyn
Shipmate
# 16840

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Unless one is able to adopt the martyr's attitude to death -- that of being happy to die, then any mental pre-planning, other than acknowledging the inevitability of death, is likely to be limited.

We had a family member die at home recently having been diagnosed with bladder cancer 6 months previous. They weren't particularly happy about it, there was some gradual acceptance though and, as Boogie said up-thread, in the last 2 weeks some kind of natural mechanism seemed to engage whereby the end was rather like a bird simply flying away.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

Posts: 3206 | From: U.K. | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged
pimple

Ship's Irruption
# 10635

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
'live each day as if thy last'

And garden as if you were going to live forever.

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In other words, just because I made it all up, doesn't mean it isn't true (Reginald Hill)

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