Planning for Losing Those We Love – Why it Needs to be Addressed

This difficult subject is a reality check for every adult!

The most common question people ask me is … “Why?

Why did I take on writing about such a difficult subject? Despite being issue that most people don’t want to talk about yet it affects us all is, ‘end of life matters,’ and packing up the possessions of a person who has died.

Ask yourself this question: in your life have you ever changed course, because of a significant experience you’ve had – a catalyst?

I did, the catalyst that changed my life quite dramatically, and that caused me to write the ‘information’ book, ‘Wrapping It Up – The Ultimate Guide,’ (now Closing the Final Chapter) was when my mother died suddenly yet she wasn’t found until several days later. There are no words to describe the shock, the disbelief of that day and the sadness you feel when someone close to you has died … and died very alone.

Death incites all manner of emotion in all of us, and shock is certainly one strong emotion. But before that reality sets in, there’s so much to do, often quickly, yet most people don’t know what to do.  It’s unchartered territory for most people and it’s daunting. It’s as if you’re like a spinning top everywhere you look there are things to do, most of which is foreign.

You can’t avoid it all. Reality hits hard at this time – that’s life … full of unexpected surprises. But you can be prepared.

After the initial trauma of that experience it soon became apparent I was to be THE one to deal with my mother’s possessions, where ever they were. Pack them up, distribute, sell and generally find a new home for everything.

Many of you may have parents who were born between 1915-1950 and you’ll probably agree most were or are hoarders or ‘packrats’ as some say. Mine were.

When you are faced with this packing up task, how do you know what to do, where to start, what’s the right way to do it, and what’s the wrong way? As I came to find out there are countless questions that just pound your mind, they certainly did for me.

Surprisingly no one really had the answers. I looked for help books in all the usual places, solicitors, funeral homes, bookstores, libraries but not even researchers could find anything useful. This was absolutely amazing to me.

People die every day, how can that be?

Sure there were lots of books and services on grief, legal and financial matters relating to the preservation of assets etc, but nothing on the basic nuts n bolts information of what people need to know on what to do when someone passes away. Said succinctly what to do, with all their dare I say it, ‘stuff’, things, junk, and possessions, sometimes collected over decades.

That’s when rather boldly, I decided to write a guidebook to help others but I needed much more information. Over time, I wrapped up for four other people then decided to do some extensive research via an online survey with the help of a publicist.

Surprisingly I received over 40,000 answers (that’s answers not respondents) to my questions and that’s how ‘Wrapping It Up – The Ultimate Guide’ was borne.

Although providing anecdotes, great information and insight, and detailed checklists, received people from around the country, many replies came back with one common thought. Finally someone had taken on the task of writing such a much needed help book.

One person wrote, “Congratulations on taking on such a task, you have created and provided something very helpful for people. I have given a copy to each family member.” Mona Drew.

Another person wrote, “The unique value of ‘Wrapping It Up’ is that it provides in a calm way, clarity and direction for others who are bound up with so much emotion they can’t act effectively or logically. It’s a reality check for every adult, helpful now or for the future.” Public Speaker, Mike F.

In writing this information book, I wanted to find useful ways to help others by providing solid insight and information, to help reduce peoples fear of the issue, to save time, anguish, regrets, dollars and stress, and dare I say, family break ups.

After a person has passed away it’s not uncommon for family breakups to occur. Buried animosities, fear and greed are often the root cause because it’s a time when emotions are volatile and people are vulnerable.

Suffice to say, people can prevent or reduce a lot of these destructive actions and emotions by gaining knowledge and insight before a family member passes on and in fact before you pass on.

It’s important to read it before you need it: Closing the Final Chapter.

My goal has and still is to help others by providing them with this much-needed information.

  • Laurie Riddle

    when is it good to start planning your funeral, I am 42 years old with 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren. My children's father died when he was 42 of cancer and he did have his funeral planned but he had known he was going to die for years because of this disease.

    • Di Todd-Banks

      Hello Laurie
      Taking out funeral insurance is very important to do because once done, you can have peace of mind. It really would be best if you researched and implemented that now. Depending on where you are located, there are some key issues to consider when you do the research. Let me know the country in which you live then I can come back to you with some further information that will be helpful for you.