Last year a relative of mine, young man of 29 woke up late in the morning, and went to shower, to get ready to attend a family gathering that afternoon. After shower he said I am not feeling well, called his mom “mom, I am dying” and passed out. He was taken to the Hospital and never opened his eyes and died within hours for causes not known. His death was so sudden it shocked the family and friends.
At the funeral the Imam of mosque while leading the last prayer of the deceased gave a small speech about the uncertainty of life, suggesting that death is imminent and every one should be ready as if it is his/her taboo. People areast day. I have written about preparedness of death before, but this incident led me to think again about readiness. I began evaluating my own situation. We live in a culture that denies death. None of us want to think about dying, but death will happen to all of us sooner or later.
Every one has to die sooner or later. Approximately 2 persons die every second, somewhere around the world. Some have to suffer the pain of injury and sickness, others die of senescence. Though it is imminent, it is a Taboo to discuss it. People are afraid of death, and most of the times do not know how to handle the subject. Instead of discussing it openly they just shut off. There is also a superstition that if you talk about death, it will come sooner. Which is totally untrue.
Preparedness is very important for any disaster management. When dear and near one die unexpectedly, they left behind a bit of a mess. Deceased families while dealing with grief have to deal with perplexing questions, and often fight over what the deceased would have wished or preferred..Is there a will? If so where is it? What was his/her last wishes? How & where he/she wants to be buried? How the assets to be dealt with? What and where are they? Is there a loan? Who should be informed?
The biggest disaster for a family is the death of a person, specially if he/she is responsible to manage affairs of family. Every man and woman should try to plan and organize things for the benefit of loved ones. Following are few suggestions:
1. Draw up will
A will is very important for the benefit of survivors. At the time of a loss of a loved ones people may be disoriented, unable to make decisions. Which may result in bad blood among siblings. One of my relative had given full charge of her rented house to one son and did not draw a will. After her death the son started saying that now mother is gone, all siblings should share the debt and other expenses of the house. When siblings asked for the account of last 10 years, he could not produce. The house has substantial income and their should not be any debt on the house. Moreover the son responsible for the house had a mediocre job but living a lavish life, which other siblings suspected that he is using the income from house which should be shared among others. All this bad blood situation can be avoided if their is a will drawn clearly defined what to do.
2. Manage Finance
Evaluate Financial situations periodically and make a list of assets and loans. If you are doing internet banking, then write down your bank and ATM passwords on a peace of paper kept in a secured place known to the family. When you are gone survivors may need access of the cash and will not be able to do it in absence of passwords.
The list of assets and liabilities should be updated periodically to present a realistic image.
3. Make Funeral arrangements
The best departing gift to the family is to prearrange the funeral. If possible prepay for the expenses for funeral of your choice. Many funeral houses offer this service on installment basis. Make family known of this arrangement. So when time comes one less stress to the grieving survivors. If prearrange is not possible then at least let them know your wish, if any.
4. Prepare social media messages for Friends and family
When somebody dies people need to know. Many times survivor do not know who to inform about the death and funeral arrangements. Following will help ease the pain of survivors:
1. Make a list of all social media sites you are involved, with sign on ID and passwords
2. Make a list of all email contacts.
3. prepare a draft message to be posted on these sites or emailed. I have a draft message on my email, which I have suggested to my son to send my fiends. Message reads like this:
Hi, I am AZ, son of Mr. Z. He passed away today at 00:00 hours. Funeral will be held on at -Day, time, place. This account will be closed now. Please pray for him and send condolence messages to:
Survivor1 : name, phone number, email,
Survivor 2: name, phone number, email
include info of all survivors.
We all die. Goal is not to live forever. The goal is to create something that will ! –novelist and writer Chuck Palahniuk.