Dealing with death: Putting affairs in order
Our culture is one that generally feels uncomfortable talking about preparations for death.
Getting a will in place is a major undertaking, and seems to be an activity only for the elderly. The truth is that death comes at any age and it's very important for those with minor children to have directives in place. In recent years, there have been publicized cases of young people hanging between life and death.
Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo's stories prompted many to get living wills in place, but according to Jane Brody this isn't enough; you need to "create a living will that health care practitioners readily understand, one that spells out your desired "code" status." The following books are available at your library:
"Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond," by Jane Brody. An invaluable road map to putting your affairs in order -- or helping your loved ones do the same. This comprehensive book will answer every question you might have about what does and does not help smooth the transition between life and the Great Beyond.
"On Grief and Grieving," by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler. Kubler-Ross's "On Death and Dying" changed the way we talk about the end of life. Before her own death in 2004, she and Kessler completed "On Grief and Grieving," which looks at the way we experience the process of grief. Just as "On Death and Dying" taught us the five stages of death -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance -- "On Grief and Grieving" applies these stages to the grieving process and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, including sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, isolation, and healing.
"Final Conversations: Helping the Living and the Dying Talk to Each Other," by Maureen P. Keeley, PhD. And Julie M. Yingling, PhD. No matter what your age, reflecting on your last interactions with a dying loved one can have life-long consequences. This book weaves direct quotations from real people's memories of final conversations with advice and themes that will help determine what may work.
"A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order," by Maggie Watson. This workbook is a step-by-step guide designed to give you and your loved ones the gift of peace of mind. It will enable you to gather all of your personal and financial data, organize your thoughts on how to disburse your belongings after you pass on, and state all your wishes with unmistakable clarity.