Guiding Hand at Emotional Time

GOLD COAST SUN, WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 15 2006

Diana Todd-Banks knows just how traumatic and demanding it can be to clean up, or ‘wrap up’ the home of a friend or a loved one after their death.

The Gold Coast businesswoman has been asked to do it five times in her past five years.

“Anyone who has ever had to wrap up someone else’s life will understand the emotions and experiences involved,” she said.

“I will never forget the intense emotional dramas, the sadness, the fear and the stress.

“I uncovered some awful horror stories and came across a few startling surprises, some of them funny and some absolutely beautiful.”

Diana said finding items that she knew were very dear to the dead friend or relative was particularly heart-wrenching.

“You know they treasured those things, and you are loath to throw them out or give them to charity.”

Diana realised from her own experiences that she – and other first-time ‘wrappers’- needed help to guide them through the process.

“What do you do, where do you start, who do you notify, what do you keep, what do you throw out and what do you give away?”

“The first time I was asked to wrap up someone’s home, I had no idea about what to do or how to go about it. I just blundered along.”

“Solicitors only care about the legalities, accountants the financial affairs, and funeral directors are only concerned about disposing of the person’s body.”

Diana decided to write a comprehensive guide to what to do and how to do it, which she hopes will help other people who find themselves wrapping up for a friend or a loved one.

She has already completed 18 chapters of the book, to be titled Wrapping It Up, and hopes to have it available as an e-book later this year.

Diana would like to hear from other people who in a similar situation have faced problems that she didn’t encounter.

“I would like them to share their experiences, any hints or tips, any anecdotes about their wrapping up, the problems they faced,” she said.

Diana is inviting anyone who has been through the ‘wrapping up’ experience to log into her website: www.wrappingitup.com.au and answer a brief questionnaire.
She would also like to hear from professionals such as lawyers, funeral directors, financial advisors, and accountants who can provide a view of wrapping up from a professional perspective.

But although wrapping up is not a particularly pleasant task, it can sometimes have a funny or a touching side.