Preparing for your own death.


For your loved ones.

If you have time and know that your final days are coming, it can be soothing for those left behind if you leave letters, cards, birthday gifts, along with videos of you and photos so they still have connection to your life. Especially touching can be photos of you with your loved ones and pictures of hands held.


If there is time it can also help those left to have already prepared an obituary, lists of people you want contacted and instructions for a funeral or memorial celebration plan. You might want to indicate what songs or hymns you want, what kind of location (church? other setting?) that would have meaning to you. Where to be buried or were to take cremated remains is also a way to help your loved ones. These are all hard decisions and the grieving worry, hoping they are doing what you want. Specific instructions will take the burden from their shoulders. 


Be sure that your loved ones know your pins, passwords, social security number and the locations of your valuables and important documents. making a list that includes credit cards, bank accounts, etc. will also help.


A will or trust is essential. It will make your wishes clear and keep divisiveness from hurting the family. In addition, be sure to indicate a beneficiary for any monetary accounts. If there are particular family treasures, be sure to make it clear who gets them as well. Giving these kinds of things away before passing will help simplify the estate process, especially if your estate will be going into probate.


If you know your passing is coming but have plenty of time and help, do as much as you can to clean out the things you no longer need and file important papers. These things will take the survivors months to do, since they don't know what is important and what isn't, and it adds to their grief.


For yourself. 

It may be useful to speak with a counselor or chaplain about death to help take some of the uncertainty and fear from the process. A doctor can also help you understand the dying process and what you might expect. If you have chosen hospice they can also help. Be clear with these people about your concerns;. Some common ones are fear of pain, fear of loss of dignity, loss of bodily functions, fear of where you will be going or if you will exist in any other form at all, fear of what will happen to your loved ones and will you ever see them again. People who’s professions bring them into contact with dying can help answer these questions and make dying less difficult.