Bring your lunch and learn from Beth Walker everything you need to know about the legal documents associated with the end of our lives. Wills, Advanced Health Care Directives, and Power of Attorney are some of what will be discussed.
At the October meeting, Michael led us in a session about the rituals at the end of our lives. And we considered what can be done with our bodies after death.
But, as has often been the case, the conversation was light and poignant, even sprinkled with laughter, particularly as people began with their favorite funeral stories.
We talked about the various different purposes someone hopes might be accomplished by a service at the end of their lives, for example, lifting up what you thought was most important in your life, offering solace to those who are mourning, giving people a chance to say goodbye and thank you; sharing some religious teaching or belief. But we also talked about the mood or feeling that someone might wish their funeral or memorial service to have. And people shared very specific wishes for their service, specific readings or music or speakers, etc.
Michael assured people that if they leave no directions for their service, the clergy and those left behind will be able to create a fitting service. But he also insisted that leaving directions, or preplanning, is one of the most wonderful helps one can give one’s family for when they have such a hard time to weather through.
Michael believe that leaving some instructions / plans if very helpful. He is trying to come up with a Service at the end of my life Worksheet. It offers many possibilities that you might not think of, and you need only fill in what is relevant to your wishes. The idea is that it would be kept with your papers, shared with your family, even kept on file at the Old First office. Michael is working on a document that he will share at the opening of the next meeting.
We also talked about the various options for the disposition of one’s body. Cremations (with or without burial in a traditional plot) were most popular. But we noted that cremation is not a very green option. One member told of a “mushroom suit” in which the body returns to the elements and mushrooms consume the toxins that otherwise might be put back in the earth. The most common plan after creation was donating one’s body to science. It was noted that usually the ashes are returned to the family at some future point. We talked about other green burial options. And traditional burial in a cemetery, which curiously no one present was interested in.
We also talked about as well as making such choices known in advance to one’s family, one can pre-pay for one’s services from a funeral home.
As stated above, the next session of our “Approaching the End of Life” series will be on Wills and Bequests, and is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6 after worship.