I have written a letter to my children. It is to be opened on my death. It contains instructions for my funeral.
No I have not been diagnosed with anything life threatening. There is no cause for panic. Hopefully they won't be opening it for a long time yet and I may even have edited it in the meantime.
Some of you may think this is quite morbid. However, having spent time last week assisting my husband and his 7 siblings prepare for his Mum's funeral, which took place on Thursday, I think it's the right thing to do. Maybe if there were less of them it might have been easier. There were lots of opinions to be combined without upsetting anyone. But the closeness they share has given them a combined strength and we got through.
Of course it has still been a difficult time with lots of decisions to be made. Should they provide clothes for her body? What to do with her ashes? Which music to play at the crematorium? That produced a lot of debate. As did if we aren't having flowers and people offer donations, which charity should we nominate? Steering 8 opinions into 1 decision was sometimes easy but often tricky.
Inevitably we were all sad, but this was not a tragic or unexpected death. My MIL was 87 and her life had been happy. Yet still the siblings struggled with the arrangements. There were no instructions. How people cope when a death is sudden or in difficult circumstances I do not know.
It took me back to when I had to arrange my Mother's funeral. I wasn't prepared for the questions. We'd discussed burial v cremation - cremation was favoured. I knew what to do with her ashes. (Have them placed under the same rose bush as my Dad.) I had no answers for other things.
I decided then that I wouldn't put my children (or husband) through the same dilemma. I would make it clear for them. My Mum passed away in 2012 but I hadn't got around to putting pen to paper. Now on the passing of my MIL I have found the determination needed to consider my plans.
I hope that when the time comes it will make it easier for my children.