He was old, but not that old. He was sick, but not that sick. His death was anticipated, but not expected, at least not this soon.
He was a good man, a happy man and the man that I married and lived with for so many years. He was planning on a retirement that included me, and a trip to a far away place. We had happy thoughts. We sold our home. We moved and bought a new home and then, much too soon, our dreams were shattered in a million pieces like a broken window pane.
He complained of a chest pain, but said it was gas. We ate dinner as we usually do, and then he collapsed and instantly died- much too soon and totally unexpected.
This is a tale that so many widows tell. This is not a story that is new, or can be made up. Life is uncertain and we never know from day to day, if when we walk out of the house, will we return or will we die.
Funeral plans are easy to follow if the plans had been preplanned. There are many things to do, people to contact, and in the sad state you are in, it is even more difficult to go through. One of the first things to do, in a situation as described above, is to telephone the police and tell them what had just occurred. If you have a family physician, he should also be called, and then, if you are composed, you should call all of the immediate family members and break the news.
Once this is done, you will have to call a local Funeral Home. Tell them what had happened, and follow the directions that they give. Remember, if your loved one has died at home, the state will probably require an autopsy. The Funeral Director will come to the house, wrap the body and take it away. This moment is the most heartbreaking of all. Seeing the one you love being wheeled away on a gurney will remain in your memory for the rest of your life. Be prepared for the pain because this must be done.
Then everyone leaves the house. The police have long gone. The doctor who examined him and pronounced him dead has also left. You had just watched your husband depart and you are left alone with your tears and a broken heart.
Tomorrow will come, as it usually does, but for you life as you knew it will never again be. You go to bed, and will yourself to sleep, for tomorrow will be far worse than today.
The family arrives as you knew they would. You have to go to the Funeral Home and decide on the type of burial he would have wanted. But he is not here, and this is a decision left up to you alone, but you know you have to get used to it, because you will forever have to decide by yourself.
Do you want him to be cremated, buried in the ground or above the ground. Was he in the service? Think! If so, he will be allowed to be buried in Arlington Cemetery with a ten gun salute and a flag of the United States on his casket.
Who should you notify of his death you wonder? Check his address book for a list of his friends and co-workers. Should he be buried the very next day or in a week? Be prepared to know the answer, as this is a question the funeral director will ask and must know.
So many things have to be done. So much to think about and decide upon at this very moment. What type of casket would you like to bury him in. What are the costs and can you afford it?
Should you allow the Funeral Home to make all of the decisions. They will, if you feel you can no longer think of the burial and all that it takes. Remember however, if you allow them to do all of the planning, it will cost you a great deal more – they do not work for free.
Did he have a Will? Think! Do you remember if he ever got around to it? You recall that he kept putting it off, until now it is much too late. You should have insisted that he write a Will and also include his financial planning. If he has a business, who will now run it; if he had stocks and bonds where did he put it? Does he have a lawyer that you should contact? These are the matters that should have been taken care of years ago.
Planning a funeral for a senior, regardless of whether they are a wife, a mother or grandmother, is never a pleasant matter, but as they say, ‘someone has to do it.” Make it easier for those who will be in charge, by making sure that senior family members have all of these matters preplanned.
Never leave the writing of a Will to be done on another day instead of today. One never knows what is in store for them. Anyone can walk out of the front door and never live to return.