Archive for Death

No Dead End Thoughts For Me

end of road

Most people are ignorant about hospice. I get it.

Most aren’t interested in learning about hospice. I understand.

Most figure hospice is for others, but not them. Makes sense to me.

If a doctor suggested hospice care, how many patients would prefer to discuss other options? Is there a Plan B or C to hospice? Is there a second or fifth opinion with choices other than hospice?  Even if you knew that combined, all of the hospice agencies in the United States cared for about 50% of those who died* in a typical year, hospice stats don’t matter since you’re not going to . . .


Aren’t you the clever one? Not.

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My parents jokingly—and seriously—planned to “leave feet first” from their home. Over the decades, they’d called the plumber to fix the toilet, mowed the lawns, repainted the house when needed, upgraded to double-paned windows, and hoped at some point in the future they’d go to sleep in their bed and not wake up. Mom was smart, a person of deep faith and knowledgeable about the world. As bright as he was stubborn, Dad had a successful career in sales: life insurance. Professionally (and ironically), he was always encouraging clients to make careful plans for their uncertain futures.

They did not die in their lovely home of nearly 50 years. Read More →

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Facts (and Lies) On Death Certificates

causes of death How about a few thoughts on one of the most (least) popular items on your after-death to-do list?

Death certificates are among the most dismal of reading materials. But they are essential for the “business” after a loved one’s death. Since it takes time to order and acquire certificates, it’s better to purchase multiple copies. Tucking several extras into a file is likely better than scrambling to request more in the future.

On a practical note, the mortuary will probably handle the death certificate. Depending on the county, prices for certificates run the gamut from cheap to are-you-kidding! expensive. In the United States, official copies are obtained from a county clerk’s office*.

Insurance companies, banks, and similar institutions requiring proof of death frequently want the legal certificate issued with the county’s seal. However, with my parents’ estate, the companies that requested an official certificate versus those only needing a copy were never predictable. Read More →

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That Word . . . That Talk


At one of the churches I served, I led a class entitled, “Living Fully, Dying Well.” It encouraged participants to learn about and share their views on . . . Death. I asked the group of mostly parents, ranging in age from 30s to 70s: “Did you ever have a talk with your kids about sex?”

A few had toddlers, and that talk was years away. A few never had kids: no need for the talk. But the majority, recently or decades before, raised their hands to acknowledge covering that subject with their kids.

“What about death?”

They stared at me.

“Have you told your children about what your thoughts are about death? About anything having to do with your wishes if you get a terminal illness, or what you want if you can’t make decisions?” Read More →

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