Dealing with Death and Delays

A cemetery or graveyard
Death comes for us all, often when not expected. You should prepare for it, just in case.

Apologies to my regular readers for the lack of recent posts. Last week, we got the call that an elderly relative was in the hospital with only days to live, so we asked a neighbor to feed the chickens, dropped the dog off with friends, and drove out to see him. He passed that night. We then stuck around for the memorial and to help his widow.

Let me tell you, dealing with the period between death and cremation is a bunch of bureaucratic bull with multiple hoops to jump through. For example, it didn’t matter what the deceased’s wishes were, the immediate family members had to agree to and sign off on the cremation, even people who were not his executor. Had one person objected, the family would not have been able to proceed. Because one family member was still on the West Coast at the time of his death, they had to give verbal permission and then sign an electronic document. I don’t know what would have happened if they were hiking the Appalachian Trail, hunting in the Alaska bush, or otherwise unreachable.

Second, despite dying in a hospital while under a doctor’s care, the medical examiner has to see the body and waive the right to perform an autopsy. As a result, he still hasn’t been cremated. To add insult to injury, the family had to pay the medical examiner a fee for a service they didn’t even want. That’s the government for you.

My guess is that this rigmarole is to prevent criminals from rushing a body through cremation and to prevent the funeral home from getting sued by family members, but what a hassle! Having to go through this on short notice while dealing with grief after being descended upon by several families’ worth of relatives doesn’t make it any easier.

No News

For at least four days, I watched no news, saw no YouTube, and didn’t read the newspaper. I glanced at a few headlines on my phone, but didn’t pay much attention once I realized the world was continuing apace. And you know what? I don’t think I missed anything. Israel/Hamas, Russia/Ukraine, Trump is in court, Biden turns 81, same old same old.

I’m just glad the world as we know it didn’t come to an end, and I missed it.

I was as well prepped as a guy in a truck a few hundred miles from home can be, but that’s nothing compared to how prepped we are at home. (As you can imagine, I breathed a sigh of relief when we got home.)

The family is scattered across the country and had not been together since 2012. Dealing with them was a good reminder that we live apart from each other for a reason. Things finally got moving when we reminded a few that this wasn’t a democracy and plans were not up for discussion. Your uncle left clear instructions, and if they offend your husband because he is not religious, then he’ll just have to get over it or not attend. It was a good reminder that there are good reasons not all are invited to bug out to our place or even aware that is an option.

I guess whoever said “You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family” was right. Just remember, you don’t have to engage your family, share personal info with annoying relatives, or listen to them whine about their self-imposed problems. We were polite, but when we left, we didn’t look back.

Generational Differences

 I’ve decided that two adjacent generations can get along, but that there is too wide a gulf when it comes to three or more, unless one is too young to be involved in the decision making. Three sets of adults fifty or sixty years apart is a recipe for disaster if you are all trying to work together towards a common goal. The old and the young just don’t see eye-to-eye. We also had young-adults presents who had learned everything they knew about funerals from watching TV. Well, consider this a lesson in adulting, and no, you shouldn’t wear that to a funeral.

We squeezed in a nice dinner with only my children and their families, and that went very well. That’s reassuring, because they are all expected to bug out here.

Preparing for Death

Here’s a bit of preparedness advice few preppers will give you:

  • Have an estate plan and make sure that at least two responsible adult parties know what it is. Have your paperwork in order and accessible.
  • Make sure your executor or personal representative knows who your lawyer is and how to contact them.
  • Make sure your bank accounts are joint accounts or have a “transfer on death” notation so they don’t get tied up in probate. Same with car titles.
  • If you have life insurance, an IRA, a 401k, or other investment accounts, make sure your beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries reflect your current desires.
  • Should you get divorced or experience another life change, change your beneficiaries accordingly.
  • If you have a song you want played at your funeral or memorial, or a psalm or Bible verse you want read at your service, make sure your spouse and kids know this. Put it in writing so they can’t argue about it.

In my experience, many young adults don’t like to contemplate death. They don’t want to talk about life insurance or make estate plans. You can either control what happens to you and your estate after you die, or you can leave it up to a judge or court-appointed trustee that has never met you. I recommend you realize death is inevitable and prepare for it.

Dealing with Death and Delays