We all know that death can come at any time.
Many of us have written out a legal will to ensure a smooth financial transition for our families. More and more of us are storing away an advance directive with our physicians, spouses and health care representatives in the case of an advanced terminal illness. But few of us give much thought to the process our families undergo after the moment of death. This is where a Last Wishes document comes in.
What is a Last Wishes Document?
A Last Wishes document is an outline of your personal, medical, financial, and legal information to be used by your survivors at the time of your death. It is not a legally binding agreement. Having this information consolidated and written down relieves your family of the burden of having to sort through your files at this difficult time.
Within the Last Wishes is a section for your death care preferences, which helps ease the family decision making process concerning your funeral services and final disposition. Ultimately, it serves as a communication reference point. The most common choices concern; wakes, funerals, memorial services, cremations, burials, cemetaries and cremains. However, most of us are not aware of our full range of motion in these matters. Culturally,we have gotton in the habit of thinking in a rather limited way. The Spiral of Life In-Home Wakes and Funerals encourages anyone who is unmoved by our current funeral practices to participate in one of our workshop before you decide your death care preferences. These workshops are designed to expand your range of motion and choice within the death care paradigm. There are many simple and creative ways to invite our families to participate. For some of us it might mean a full home funeral, for others a partial home funeral and for still others just bits and pieces of the story. The point is to take us from passive viewer to loving participant.
If after learning about the possibilities that exist within the In-home wake and funeral option, you decide that all or part of this story resonates somewhere within you, then a well written Last Wishes document is the doorway. Through it you ensure the skillful and conscious participation of your loved ones. Because it is written it is clear, and because you have thought about it, you have opened the door to discuss this topic together.
Once written, we need only share it with our most significant family members, store it in a accessible location and revisit and revise it once every year or two. The only real requirement is that we simply take the time to do it. For many of us it is something we endlessly put off. One of the services of the Spiral of Life is to assist you in getting this important document completed.
Last Wishes help in many ways...
- Your family knows your wishes ahead of time, saving them from an emotionally draining, difficult decision making process
- help mediate any potentially harmful family or extended family differences
- Your written death care preferences set the tone for this event, as family and friends will feel they are fulfilling and serving your wishes.
- Family member's rarely shop around for prices or ask for less expensive choices during such a time and it is not uncommon for people to spend between $5,000-$10,000 and up for funeral services. Last Wishes can give your family permission to send you off in a simple, natural way without feeling socially uncomfortable or financially inadequate, thus possibly saving them thousands of dollars and limiting the environmental impact of high cost products and services.
- Last wishes can invite our loved ones to participate in our passing and as such are a symbol of your own acceptance of the balance between life and death. If we can accept our own inevitable death, then on some level it provides room for our loved ones left behind to accept it too.