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#219509 - 09/24/13 09:05 PM Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 3191
Loc: Illinois
I just read an interesting article about a new trend being attributed to us Baby Boomers: Death Dinners.

Apparently the concept is to host a get-together with family and friends, serve wonderful food and beverages, and talk about a real life issue: how you'd prefer to die.

These dinners are arranged as parties, with the purpose of making sure that family members and close friends know what you want, so they can assure that you get it.

For instance, how do you feel about feeding tubes? Do you want heroic measures taken to sustain your life at all costs? Where do you want to be buried? Do you want a traditional in-ground burial, or would you prefer cremation with a ceremony for scattering your ashes in some special place?

Have you heard about this? I hadn't, but it's probably a good idea. After all, if it is our fate to die a slow death, we generally have time to tell our families how we'd like to go.

But if I were to get hit by the proverbial bus, and death take me suddenly, I'm not sure my family knows how I'd like to be treated.

After all, death and taxes, while inevitable for all of us, are things we are trained not to speak of in polite society...

Here's the article, from Bloomberg Business Week.

Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Anne
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
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#219514 - 09/29/13 03:04 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: Anne Holmes]
jabber Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 10010
Loc: New York State
My adoptive folks always had a "death dinner" after the funeral of a close, beloved family member. Never heard about having a talk beforehand. Interesting concept, however.
_________________________
"MOLLIE'S FOLLIES" by Bonnie Mill-Lemke, aka Jabber, is available at the Kindle Store and in paperback on Amazon.com.
URL - https://www.amazon.com/author/bonnie.mill-lemke

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#219515 - 09/29/13 08:39 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: jabber]
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 3191
Loc: Illinois
Jabber, When you say our folks had a "death dinner" after the funeral of a close beloved family member, I'm thinking of what my family does, which is host a meal-oriented get-together -- sometimes as simple as a potluck, other times a sit-down dinner in a nice restaurant -- after a funeral because it's a chance for everyone to assemble and socialize. Some people call this a "wake."

The concept being that many of the people there will have come from a distance, and don't often see one-another. Since you can't really chat/catch-up on news at the funeral ceremony, this post-service meal serves that purpose. And does a very good job.

But it's not the same as a "death dinner." These death dinners -- as the article explains in some depth -- are not held in relation to any death. They are held when everyone is healthy and hearty -- with the express purpose of sharing good food and wine while you share with your family and friends HOW you want things to be handled when it comes time for you to die.

It's an effort at PRE-PLANNING your own funeral in order to assure that you get the funeral that you really want.


In other words, you talk about whether you want to be buried in the family plot or whether you'd rather be cremated and have your ashes tossed to the winds.

You talk about whether or not you want to be put on life-support and that sort of thing....

And to some degree, you might talk about how you want your possessions dispersed, where your will is kept, what songs you'd like played at the service, and maybe even what you'd like everyone to eat at your wake.

I wrote a bit about this in my old blog, boomerlifestyle.com back a few years ago. Check the link, I think you'll find that article quite informative.

Now I suppose some of that sort of discussion might naturally happen at a wake - especially if people are commenting about what they liked or didn't like about the funeral service, etc.

But in my experience, these wake dinners are mostly about remembering the dearly departed, consoling the grief-stricken and catching up on family news. So the main purpose is remembering the dearly departed, as opposed to planning for our own deaths.

And it seems to me that if we hold a special dinner among friends to discuss how we want things to happen as we are dying, there is a much larger chance that we will actually get it.

For example, if I told my husband, in front of friends, that I want to be buried in an eco-friendly manner, then no one will have any cause to think ill of him at the funeral, when they see he didn't opt for the ridiculously ornate coffin so many funeral homes try to pass off as being the most "respectful" way to treat our recently departed loved ones.

Personally, I'm really glad people are starting to talk more openly about this stuff.
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com
www.boomerlifestyle.com
www.boomerco.com

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#219517 - 09/30/13 02:08 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: Anne Holmes]
jabber Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 10010
Loc: New York State
I'm glad for folks' able to carry on such discussions. I've never known anyone able to discuss death, especially their own, with any sense of ease. Folks' believing in Heaven, might have an easier go of it. But WB comes from a naturally quiet family and he has trouble expressing feelings which don't go to the core of the human heart!
_________________________
"MOLLIE'S FOLLIES" by Bonnie Mill-Lemke, aka Jabber, is available at the Kindle Store and in paperback on Amazon.com.
URL - https://www.amazon.com/author/bonnie.mill-lemke

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#219518 - 10/01/13 04:20 AM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: jabber]
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 3191
Loc: Illinois
I understand, Jabber. I don't know that it is easy for any of us to discuss our own deaths. But if we have strong ideas about what we'd like or not like, it makes sense to let folks know...

And maybe it is one of those things we can easier discuss if we are totally healthy and just talking in the abstract. In other words, the sooner the better.

Perhaps by starting out to talk in generalities about what you liked or didn't like at a funeral you attended.

Or try talking about some celebrity funeral. I wrote an interesting post about that after Michael Jackson died. Here's the link to that post.
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com
www.boomerlifestyle.com
www.boomerco.com

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#219519 - 10/01/13 04:59 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: Anne Holmes]
Ellemm Offline


Registered: 11/04/08
Posts: 601
I think people should definitely do this. Discussing your end of life wishes really has nothing to do with your spiritual life. That's in someone else's hands. What happens to you and your stuff, however, will be left to your relatives to figure out on the spot. If you don't want the family standing around screaming about what Mom Surely Would have Wanted, it's best to say it up front.

Do you want heroic life-saving measures? To be an organ donor? Cremation? Funeral? Burial in family plot? Your sister to have that favorite piece of cross-stitch or the family dining room table? If you don't spell it out ahead of time, you can bet that nothing you might have wanted will happen.

My relatives are crazy enough that they're hard to deal with even if wishes are known, but you at least have something to threaten them with. My sister had talked my dad into donating his body to science (a worthy cause but not something he was interested in) because she was helping herself to his money for years. That's at an end and we have discussed his cremation and eventual burial at Arlington National Cemetery. He is so relieved.

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#219524 - 10/01/13 11:13 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: Ellemm]
jabber Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 10010
Loc: New York State
You are right, of course. Talking over final arrangements is a wise thing to do. I had a dear friend who spelled everything out in writing. Exactly what she wanted done and exactly how she wanted it done. None of that took place, however. So I guess that's why I'm soured on the concept. But, regardless, it is wise
to plan ahead.
_________________________
"MOLLIE'S FOLLIES" by Bonnie Mill-Lemke, aka Jabber, is available at the Kindle Store and in paperback on Amazon.com.
URL - https://www.amazon.com/author/bonnie.mill-lemke

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#219525 - 10/02/13 12:37 AM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: jabber]
Anne Holmes Administrator Offline
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 3191
Loc: Illinois
Sorry none of your friend's final wishes were carried out, Jabber.

They should have been, especially if she had spelled them out in a valid will. Too bad no one in her family was able to go to bat for the concept of respecting her wishes.

But for the most part, it's been my experience that when wishes are known, either in an official will, or in some sort of validated document -- even if it is a videotape -- I believe it is the executor's job to assure that the deceased's final wishes are respected.
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com
www.boomerlifestyle.com
www.boomerco.com

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#219530 - 10/02/13 01:27 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: Anne Holmes]
jabber Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 10010
Loc: New York State
I agree. Final wishes should be respected and carried out. And I know my friend's circumstances were birthed from an oddball situation. Thank God not many people go through what she endured.
_________________________
"MOLLIE'S FOLLIES" by Bonnie Mill-Lemke, aka Jabber, is available at the Kindle Store and in paperback on Amazon.com.
URL - https://www.amazon.com/author/bonnie.mill-lemke

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#219534 - 10/03/13 02:41 PM Re: Havng "The Talk" About Final Arrangements [Re: jabber]
Ellemm Offline


Registered: 11/04/08
Posts: 601
Well, you need a will and an executor to make sure wishes are carried out. And the executor needs to be someone who will not be swayed by threats or sob stories. For all of us, if we simply express our wishes and our documents aren't legal or treated as though they are, it's just talk.

Unfortunate but true. Also unfortunate but true is that deaths often bring out the worst in people, who decide they will get even for an old grudge or take possessions because they think they deserve them. People might think their own families will be exempt from this shabby behavior, but no.

I would be a good executor because I am really mean!

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