Planning Ahead

No one knows the exact time we will leave this earth. If we had that ability, I don’t think I would want to know. We don’t have to wait until we are diagnosed with a terminal illness in order to plan ahead. Funerals have a way of slowing us down, if not stopping us in our tracks in order to evaluate the order of our affairs. Think of the burden taken off of your loved ones when you take responsibility now of the choices that will need to be made during difficult times. Most people probably haven’t even stopped between meetings, work, and family responsibilities to ponder such important choices.

I found this website and thought it to be a very thought provoking. I haven’t made a ‘plan’, much less downloaded a form to fill out and share with my loved ones. Not only am I going to begin structuring my plan, I am going to let my family know about them as well. My intention is to share this site so that you too can just begin to make a plan in the convenience of your own home.

Calculate your Death Date

I’ll do it tomorrow

Dealing with a terminal illness can fill your head with a tornado of emotions, which can lead to the attitude of “I’ll take care of things later”. There can be so many choices and questions. My goal is to make it easier for you by gathering thoughts, information, and being a resource center for you.

  1. Setting an intention for your transition can be so beautiful

Visual boards are great instruments. What kind of exit do you want?
What would you have to do to feel complete?
How do you want to leave this world? Consciously, peacefully, gracefully?
What was your soul growth?
What do you want to pass on?
What was this lifetime about?
What is your legacy?
What do you want to share that didn’t work for you?
How did you expand in your ability to love?
How much did you grow in learning your Life lessons?

2. Healing Relationships

How do you talk to those that don’t want to speak about death?
How to move past regret into forgiveness (for yourself and others)
Do you feel more comfortable writing letters to loved ones or does digital scrapbooking fit you better?

3. Address fears

Don’t stuff them. Feel them, acknowledge them and honor them. You are human after all. We are all scared of the unknown. If this were not true, we would all be speaking about death.

Addressing fears and becoming comfortable with death. It’s OK to have fear, pain, curiosity. Allow yourself to be comfortable with fear, especially fear of the unknown.

4. Putting your affairs in order.

Have you written a living will?
Appointed a healthcare power of attorney?
Completed an advanced directive?
Could a loved one correctly describe how you would like to be treated in the case of a terminal illness?
Is there someone you trust whom you’ve appointed to advocate on your behalf when the time is near?
If there were a choice, would you prefer to die at home or in a hospital? In addition to alleviating the patient’s comfort, palliative care can also provide an opportunity for family and friends to gather information about how an illness is likely to progress and to begin planning for long-term-care needs

Have you thought about making funeral arrangements? Music, readings, stories, flowers, casket/plot or cremation?

When was the last time you cleaned out those closets? Sometimes leaving objects of value, be it monetary or sentimental, can be a wonderful gift.
What a gift to leave your loved ones clean closets! Is all that stuff that you don’t want to go through just leaving more work for loved ones later?
Purging your home can be very healing!

These questions can be answered and information gathered with my four week coaching plan. It is presented in a bite-sized, easily digestable manner. Together we can sift through some very important information to help you and your loved ones during times that can be difficult.

The Power Of Prayer

In March 2003, I was married to a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from an accident on his motorcycle. He was in a coma for two and a half weeks. We had several visitors come to the hospital and express their concern.
I was just remembering how powerful I felt during that time. I really think it was because people were praying for us. People used to say, “I’ll be praying for you”. I always thought that meant they would go home and pray for me. Not so. I would instantaneously feel a surge of energy that would lift me up and make me feel light. It would even seem as though it was easier to breathe. Then there were the others that would tell me, “Ok honey, I’ll pray for you”. I felt nothing from those people who did not believe in the power of their prayers. They would say the words because it was the right thing to say.
I really don’t think some people are more powerful than others when it comes to praying. I believe if you sincerely wish well and have good intentions for a person then that prayer does not know time and will be felt by the recipient immediately.
When you tell someone you will pray for them, remember how truly powerful you are. Your well wishes and thoughtful prayers have so much more power when you authentically send them with meaning and intention.

Sharing Poems

I found some poems/ prayers I wanted to share.

“Dear God,
May every aspect of my being
be converted to Truth.
May every cell fall into place
and serve a higher plan.
I no longer wish to be
who I was.
I wish to be more.


Buy the Book
This inspiring quote by Marianne Williamson is from her book, Illuminated Prayers, Simon & Schuster (December 2, 1997).

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to
eternal life.

The above prayer by St Francis of Assisi appears in numerous books, and is also printed on posters and fine art prints.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well.

Death Is Nothing at All can be found in (inexpensive) book form, too, that includes illustrations:

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or, you will be taught how to fly

The leaning tree: [poems]
by Patrick Overton. This book includes the above poem. Published 1975 by Bethany Press.
Rebuilding the front porch of America: Essays on the art of community making
by Patrick Overton. This book also includes the above poem. Published 1997 by Columbia College.

Death Anniversary

I was visiting with my friend who is Filippino, she was preparing for her trip back home to celebrate her mother’s first death anniversary. I was curious as to the process of this day, so we started talking about how death is celebrated in her country/culture.

In the Philippines, once a medical doctor has stated that a person is bedridden, the family takes them home to care for them. There are still home visits from the doctor during this time. After a person has transitioned, they are embalmed and brought back to the house. There are nine days of novena (prayer for the dead) as the family is gathered around the body. They pray for the soul to enter safely into heaven. They also pray for all the lost souls in Purgatory, so they can find their way to heaven. There is singing and some storytelling of the person’s life or how they impacted another’s life. They have lots and lots of food and celebrate the life of the one who transitioned. Then there is a mass celebration (funeral) and laying the body to rest. One year later on the anniversary date the family gathers together again to celebrate mass and enjoy more food, singing, stories, and pictures.

She shared some beautiful stories that started me pondering about the process of death in our society. It seems that there is so much fear and unknown regarding death and dying that we don’t want to deal with it and send our loved ones away to die.

When did we move as a society from caring for our loved ones in the home to taking them into the hospital to transition? Then it is off to the funeral home until the viewing of the body and the burial.

She also shared the closure that is felt by everyone by having the body in the home along with the celebration and prayers. I know that this is the way it used to be here in the states as well, although the thought of having a body in the home was a little shocking to me because it is such a foreign process to me now. Maybe we think of this process as less superior to our society? Maybe it is solely fear of the unknown? Maybe it is just because that is the way it is done now? Whatever the reason is that we don’t have that practice in our society; it made me rethink the way I would want to celebrate my loved ones, and how I would want others to remember me.

Ed, Farrah & Michael

This past week has been filled with many famous icons that have transitioned. Ed McMahan passed earlier this week. My memories of him go all the way back to the days that my parents used to go out dancing and my sister and I would stay at my Granny’s house. You remember the ones that had a dial to change the channel. She loved watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Ed McMahan, his side kick. Since she only owned one TV, we all watched the Tonight Show. Although I don’t think we laughed as hard as she did, I do remember them being quite funny. Far from funny, the last times Ed McMahan was in the news was for the financial troubles that he was experiencing.

I wanted to be a just as beautiful and cool as Farrah Fawcett when I was young. Talk about transforming her legacy, she went from ditzy, beautiful blonde to a strong courageous woman who documented her final days battling cancer.

Some people around the world are calling Michael Jackson The King of Pop. He revolutionized music not only here in America, but all around the world. He was listed as the most successful artist of his time. (How do you measure success?) The music of his early years remind me of many family trips. I can remember some of my boyfriend relationship and breakups in relation to many of his songs as well. He was a part of the ‘We Are The World’ album that sold 20 million copies raising money for the hungry in Africa. Later, all the accusations of child molestation flooded the news. Some people believed that he was guilty, while others believed that he never had a childhood and built his Neverland and surrounded himself with children trying to capture and relive his childhood. Whatever you choose believe, he was still a very talented, iconic music figure who is known around the world.

What kind of legacy are we leaving?

What are we choosing to remember about those who have transitioned?

Just as each of the famous icons who passed, we all have made some poor choices leading to some not-so-positive views that others may have of us. On the other hand, we all have accomplished or possesed some very positive attributes and actions that we are proud to call our own. I feel that is what makes us human, the fact that we can live and learn from all of our experiences.

I’m Here!!

Hello world! My name is Veronica and want to create a place where people can come together and share their experiences and thoughts on death and dying. I want to offer a loving enviroment, support, and some education along the journey that each one of must partake in at some point in our lives.

My personal experience includes the death of my aunt in 2000 due to breast cancer. Secondly, my granny passed in 2001 in a car accident.

Whether you are preparing for death of a loved one or the passing happens suddenly, they both hurt just the same.

When my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, she chose not to tell anyone at first because she didn’t want to feel the ‘weight ‘ of anyone’s worries on her shoulders. She chose alternative medicine without conventional medicine. This cause much friction between her and her husband. Her argument was that it was her body, thus her choice. She had a lumpectomy and opted out of chemotherapy. Almost two years later, she felt another lump. Again not telling anyone, she lived this way for three years. Finally, her husband and mother talked her into receiving conventional, western, therapy. She had a mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation therapies. She had been cancer free for about five months when the cancer returned. This time it was in her brain. She lived about two months then passed.

I was very close to my aunt and had never had anyone close to me die. I am a Christian and know that there is something greater after this world. I just missed the availability of picking up the phone and asking her all sorts of questions whenever I want. When I have quieted myself, I have had some experiences where I have felt her presence, and it just makes me all warm inside and I can’t help but to smile. Sometimes it’s not even when I’m quiet, I’ll be in the middle of dinner and the thought of her comes flooding into my mind. Someone says a phrase that she would have said or I see something on TV or a movie ,and other times it is something I have read that reminds me of her. It may not be as convienient as picking up the phone, but I guess t this is the way we comunicate now.