Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Guest Post: The Preps Nobody Wants to Do

by Xander Opal

There are preparations for disaster that nobody wants to do because their very nature makes people confront their own mortality and that of those they love, yet not even considering these things makes a rough time even worse.

Nobody wants to face the fact that someday their grandparents, their parents, even they themselves will die. In the midst of dealing with a death in the family, though, it is hard to get all the necessary details correct, or even some of the important things taken care of.

This sober article has been written with the perspective of someone who has had to deal with some of these very issues very recently.

Know Your Work Policies
Different workplaces have different rules regarding allowed time for dealing with a death in the family. Some might not have allotted bereavement time, or the time might not be enough to deal with everything that has to be dealt with. Some jobs require proof, such as a copy of the funeral program, to prevent others from abusing the system.

A good checklist of actions when requesting bereavement leave:
  1. Notify your boss
  2. Notify Human Resources
  3. Arrange the time off with whichever of the above is appropriate for your workplace
  4. Notify coworkers who depend on you and/or fill in for you
  5. Follow up within 24 hours if any of the above did not respond (for example, you left them a voicemail/email and they haven't gotten back to you). If the usual person in any of the positions above has someone filling in for them, make sure both they and the person filling in are both notified.

Know Who to Lean On
Many people are really out of it when a death occurs, breaking part of their world. It can help to know who you can turn to among friends and family to talk things over, who is responsible enough to remind you of the things that need doing, and who is reliable enough to help you do what needs doing.

Know Who to Support
Being helpful can help someone deal with the grief of the situation themselves. Be aware that you aren't the only one grieving; other family and friends are also scrambling to manage in a bad time and might need an ear or a hand. Someone, somewhere, doesn't have time to deal with simple things like food. A sandwich platter or a cheese/crackers/meat platter refrigerates well and will be ready for just when it is needed, such as during a break in the visitation period.

Know You Have Something to Wear
Depending on your lifestyle, you might not regularly wear a serious dress or suit. If not, make sure that you have something appropriate for a funeral that both fits and is clean. For a non-random example, I discovered that the clothes I last wore at a cousin's wedding were missing a button and had a stain; the dry cleaners had them ready (barely) the night before my grandmother's funeral.

Know You Have a Place to Stay
In modern times, people move a good distance away from family to meet the demands of work, desires of a place to live, and other reasons as varied as there are people. This means needing a place to stay, either with relatives, a friend, or at a hotel. Conversely, if you have a guest room, be prepared to be asked to help with out-of-town relatives and work out the best arrangement for all.

Know Everybody Knows the Plan
If "everybody knows something", somebody surely doesn't. It's an embarrassing thing to have a key person in funeral proceedings not know that a time was changed, even if the funeral director is on the ball and quickly finds a substitute. Better someone gets the information twice than not at all.

Know the Departed's Wishes
I've heard it said that "If you hate your family, don't have a will" and a will makes it clear what to do. While you cannot make someone take care of this key piece of planning, I highly recommend asking one's parents or grandparents to have one so things are done the way they'd like it after they are gone. Even if there are no items of monetary value, there are often little things that are precious mementos to one or more family members.

Know the Good Memories
A friend of mine recommended this, and I am making it a tradition: when a family member is deathly ill, or even after they pass suddenly, get a quality bound journal and good pens. Title it something appropriate, and take turns passing it around family and friends to write good memories about the person the journal is for. So long as a person is remembered, they are not truly gone, especially so if the memories are good ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.