I've had numerous conversations with myself about should i be posting this issue here on my outdoor blog or let it pass.
In the end i decided that it is an issue worth making folks aware of and maybe our experiences will help others when this event comes unwillingly into there lives.
As readers of my blog will know, Mum passed away a month ago. (Hence the reason for the lack of posts). Dad passed away 2 years ago.
When you are at that point where you have lost both parents it's a very strange feeling and one that i must admit i wasn't expecting. The void is massive.
There is an emptiness i feel, knowing that you cannot just give them a call or pop round for 10 minutes. To have that quick disagreement that all parents and their kids have.
Even though the kids are now adults, they are still wrong.
When one parent dies, the family get together and help the remaining parent sort out what needs to be done, but the final decisions lie with the remaining parent. When the 2nd parent dies then everything has to be done by the kids and you just don't realise how traumatic and stressful that event is because it's all so final, the end of an era. A complete clear out.
When Mum died after her operation for a burst bowel, we walked out of the hospital almost completely at a loss of what to do next.
Because she died in hospital there had to be a post mortem. We didn't particularly want this as we thought she had been through enough but the coroner has to know that the death has not been caused negligently during the operation. It had to go ahead and you have to wait for the results before you start to organise anything.
Then there is the death to register and the forms to fill in for the local council and the dept of works and pensions.
Then a form has to be acquired from the registrar or the coroners office and passed to the funeral directors so that they can acquire the body and make arrangements.
Once this has been cleared the funeral can be arranged, the church procured, the vicar organised, the music for the service, the wake, flowers, charities etc.
Usually a lot of this has been decided prior to death but not always as some people just cannot bring themselves to go through it and talk about it. And worse still is the clearing of the house and estate.
Mum and Dad didn't talk much about death and didn't leave a Will so we were pretty much in the dark as to what to do.
The house they lived in was rented and they were not well off by any means so we didn't have the sale of a property or probate to go through. So this was a big plus but on the minus side we have had to clear the house within a month or so.
They had lived in the house for 53 years and believe it or not i doubt that they had ever thrown anything away. The things we found took us back, literally.
Every Birthday card, Christmas card, Get well soon card that they had received had been collected. Lots of Christmas paper carefully remove from presents had been neatly folded and saved. Morrisons and Tesco plastic bags the same. Why? Why had they saved all this for all those years.
I understand sentimental value but how many times did they ever see the light of day? Never is the answer.
We found lots of broken appliances, toasters, kettles, hair driers, hoovers, lamps. They didn’t work, none of them. I can just hear my dad now “ Don’t throw that out i will fix it when the weather gets a bit better” and yes it never got fixed it just gathered dust and i mean dust.
Bits of wood that would come in handy one day had been stored under the stairs. Did it ever come in handy? No.
Old newspapers of big events, the ending of the 2nd world war, Churchills death, the 1st man on the moon, Charles and Diana’s wedding and the like.
Every bill, receipt, even mundane item like bus tickets had been kept in envelopes, just in case. Just in case of what? God knows.
I even found TV licences from 1957 onwards. That Justin Case has a lot to answer for.
One good thing i found was the Manchester United programme v Sheffield, 19th Feb 1958, the match after the Munich Air crash. It has a team sheet but there is no team shown.
I could go on and on but the point of this post is this, death is not just an old age thing it can happen at any time. There are no rules. We tend to push it away like it doesn’t affect me. But it could and we need to make sure that we have things in place for when that times comes.
DO make a Will out, even a simple one that you can update over the years, don’t leave it till the last minute because you might miss it.
DO specify who you want to be the administrator of the Will.
DO let your kids/family know what you want to happen to you. Burial, cremation, other.
DON’T be afraid to talk about it.
DON’T hoard tons of absolute rubbish for your family to send to the tip or charity shops. Lofts, cellars, sheds, garages, have a good clear out while you can. It’s not nice for the family to have to do this, believe me. You know it makes sense.
DO find out about what happens when somebody dies BEFORE it affects you. You can’t take it all in at that point when a loved one passes away. I know it may sound morbid but i do wish i had done this.
Well i am going to leave it here. I think i have made my point and i do hope it has been helpful or at least an eye opener into a world that we don’t necessarily want to be involved with. Well not too soon anyway.