Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Death and Pre-planning funerals

I had already started another blog post regarding this subject but it was turning into a book so I'm gonna start all over again. Sometimes you just have to toss something out the window and rethink everything. That's what I'm going to do today.

As has been in the news with celebrities and Hollywood, death has been here and it just creeps up and hits you when you least expect it. My friend, Kathy lost someone very dear and close to her last week. Actually, he died the week before and it was due to suicide. A week passed before his body was discovered. Kathy was the person that kept trying to alert his mom that something was wrong. Her friend, H (as I will call him), was the person that introduced us. He was just an acquaintance to me, but to her, he was so much more. Kathy and H had dated for several years. She loved him and still loved him but realized that they couldn't be together. He moved to South Carolina and she stayed here. They were not good for each other. He had some pretty big issues and unfortunately those issues ultimately caused his death. I have hated that Kathy has had to go through this and I know that it is something that she will never get over. Deep down I know that she still loves him and always will.

Anyways, what was also unfortunate in this situation was that H had an ex-wife that he was NOT divorced from and no will. His body lay in the morgue for over a week because his parents could not get in touch with his ex-wife as she was the one that had to give her permission to release to the parents because technically she was still his wife. Of course all of this got me thinking. What if something happened to me? Butch couldn't make arrangements. What would Jessica do? Furthermore, what happens to the house if something happens to me? Would the state force Jessica out and sell it for his care? So many questions that I still don't have answers for but there are some things I can take care of until I get them answered. One of those is pre-arranging our funerals.

I guess this decision to pre-arrange was also prompted by a call from the facility. Butch is not doing well. He is getting out of bed less and less. I'm not really surprised here because the last two visits to see him, by the time we took him out for lunch and a short Wal-Mart outing, he came back to the facility and was totally wiped out. In fact, I had just told Jessica that I didn't know how much longer he would even be able to go out. He just doesn't have the energy or stamina anymore. This is to be expected but when it actually happens it is still a shock. I called the funeral home that is close to us and that we have had limited dealings with and did make arrangements between the facility and the funeral home that upon his death that Sturtevants will pick up his body. At the same time, I made an appointment for this afternoon to pre-arrange his funeral. I guess at the same time I will inquire about mine as well.

This is something though that Butch and I have talked about over the years so at least I know his wishes. He already had his plots at the cemetery so at least that is paid for and done. He always said he wanted a funeral and a burial and I always promised him that I would do that. I, on the other hand would rather have my body donated to Eastern Virginia Medical School if possible, after all other organs, tissues, etc have been harvested for transplant. I DO NOT want to be buried. I would prefer cremation and then to have my ashes scattered from the point in front of my Great-Grandparents house in Buckingham County. My parents now own this farm. It always takes my breath away. Isn't this such a peaceful spot? It brings to mind something that I read long ago and I always liked.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

- Mary Frye

This afternoon is going to be hard but it must be done. I cannot in good conscience
leave this for someone else to take care of because we never really know what tomorrow will bring. Just because Butch is sick and older does not mean that he will die first. I would not want to leave this all for Jessica to untangle. Think of me this afternoon and please send good thoughts my way so that I will have the strenth that I need to do this. Everytime that I think I am brave, that my mind is in the right place something hits me and knocks me back a little. It always makes me doubt and wonder. "Am I doing the right thing? Should I be doing something more?" That is life though, just pick yourself up, look forward and take that next step.


  1. wow! What a deep post! I think you should do whatever you feel is best for you and your family...

  2. I agree. I recently found a book that would help me with pre-death planning called Die $mart by Kathy Lane.
    I just had a few of my friends go through some deaths in the family and really noticed that you CAN die young. I'm only 26, but the people that have passed away were younger then me. I have a family that I need to also take care of so I really wanted to get prepared. This book gets you prepared. Kathy Lane tells you about 11 most common mistakes, that you can tell she's obviously seen or done.
    It's super helpful and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. You can never be too prepared. Check it out at least!
    I feel good now that my family is taken care of when I die.