Last week, I posted about death cafes and how, at 31, I am not afraid of death. I actually wrote that post on March 8, and five days later, one of my high school classmates, along with another Neosho High School graduate, died in a car accident in Indiana.
When I found out, all I could think was “Too young, he was too young to die.”
I will never know how Brad felt about dying, but even though we didn’t stay in close contact after high school, it seemed like he was doing a good job of Living, and he had always been good at pursuing his passions and playing to his strengths, in high school, at the very least.
After the shock wore off that someone I had spent hours making jazz with, someone who had been in most of my classes, someone who had been in my wider circle of friends, had left this earth, I started thinking about his family, and I remembered all that my grandpa, aunts, and uncles had had to take care of when Grandma died. I remember the mundane details that simultaneously didn’t matter one bit in the face of the loss we were all feeling, but yet seemed to matter so much because they would be our last way of showing Grandma we loved her and to honor the amazing, joy-filled life she had lived before Alzheimer’s disease corrupted her sweet, spunky personality. I remember swearing that my loved ones would not have to struggle with those details, and I remember that not long after Grandma passed away, I found MyWonderfulLife.com.
This website lets you make all sorts of decisions about what you want to happen after your death. It doesn’t take the place of a will or any other end-of-life legal documents, but because of the way it works, it allows you to think about and communicate your wishes with the people who will be tending to all those funeral and disposition details in your passing.
Because I am comfortable with my death, it doesn’t stress me out or depress me to think about these things, as I imagine it does for some people. In fact, working on my obituary, planning my “funeral” (more on that in a minute), and taking care of those details makes me feel better; I am a planner, so I’m sure that’s part of it, but I also know that me making those decisions now will relieve some stress from my family when I die, and that is what I like about MyWonderfulLife.com.
Since I have my own little piece of the Internet here on this blog, I feel like putting some of wishes out here for others to think about and know. MyWonderfulLife.com lets you designate “angels,” people who can access your wishes after you are dead, so that they know what you want, but I have decided to put some of those on my blog, too. I’ve created a page on this blog called “After I’m Gone” where I will record my wishes, but my “angels” (you know who you are!) will have access to my full “After I’m Gone” wishes through MyWonderfulLife.com.
In the 21st Century, we also have an online persona that might live on past our expiration, and my best friend Sarah has agreed to deal with that part of me after I die. Rob knows where to find my passwords, and I have shared a Google Doc with Sarah that tells her what I would like done with my major social network accounts to ensure that they are secure and handled as I would like.
One last thing I have started doing is compiling a folder of pictures to use at whatever funeral-like gathering is held for me, so that loved ones don’t have to sift through all of those in the few days before the funeral.
I hope that these preparations will make my passing perhaps a tiny bit easier on the people who have showered my life with love, joy, and special memories.
Upon Roger Ebert’s death, someone shared this article, called “I Do Not Fear Death” by Ebert, which I found very interesting.