Do They Really Know?

Our family and those closest to us know us, right?  They know what we think; and, they know how we feel about things.  They love us and because they do, they’ll know what to do in every circumstance, right?  

Well, suppose in the event of an emergency, an auto accident for instance, you were taken to the emergency room where the doctors unleash a series of questions on your family, friends or loved ones: What’s the blood type?  What are the medical conditions or preconditions?  What medications are being taken?  All of these, and more, are the types of questions we might expect in that kind of harrowing, trauma-driven situation.  And, perhaps, our loved ones might even know the answers to all of those questions because…we took the time to tell them (either verbally or in writing, hopefully both).


Do they really know?  Contrary to how many of us think, in such dire situations our family and loved ones would know the answers to those personal questions, not because they’re hot-wired into our brains or possess some mystical ESP-like super ability to read our minds.  Not at all.  If they know, it’s because there has been a conscious, pro-active effort to convey that information - in other words, you've told them.

Now, suppose you were to die.  Do those closest to you really know what you want?  Do they know what you would want your funeral to look like?  Do they know how much you think should be spent on a funeral?  Do they know whether you prefer earth burial over cremation?  Do they know if you prefer an an upright monument over a flush memorial?  A private memorial service or calling hours with viewing?  They would know, they're my family, my loved ones. Of course they would know!

No, sorry.  They wouldn’t know unless there had been, what we call “The Dialogue.”   Otherwise, your loved ones really wouldn't know, they'd only be guessing.  And so, here's a question for you to ponder: At the time of your death, in that profoundly disorienting moment, do you really want to put your loved ones in the compromised position of guessing, debating or even arguing about what it is that you really want?

Yes, many of us have phobias talking about our own death or just imagine it to be a painful, migraine-inducing exercise.  It doesn’t have to be.  It can be a five minute briefing or, if you prefer and are up to it, a long, philosophical discussion.  It's really whatever works for you and your loved ones; the point is, it needs to be done.

So, do they really know?  Here are a few very brief questions that might get you started so that you can actually say: Yes, they do know!

(1.) What is your preference for “final disposition”?

Above Ground Entombment (     )    Earth Burial (     )    Cremation (     )

(2.) How do you envision your memorial?

Basic Bronze Color (     )        Personalized Color (     )

Basic Name & Dates (     )      Personalized Scenes and Pictures (     )

(3.) If you were to choose Cremation, what about your Cremated Remains?

Earth Burial (     )        Inurned in a Niche (     )

Scattered (     )           Shared with family in Keepsakes (     )

The following questions come from Engage With Grace:

(4.) In an emergency crisis, on a scale of 1 to 5, where do you fall on this continuum?

Where A is: "Let me die without medical intervention" and where E is "Don't give up on me no matter what, try everything"

(A.     )               (B.     )               (C.     )               (D.     )               (E.     )

(5.) If there were a choice, would you prefer to die:

At  Home (     )     In a Hospital (     )     Not Sure (     )

(6.)  Could a loved one correctly describe how you'd like to be treated in the case of a terminal illness?

Yes (     )          No (     )

(7.) Is there someone you trust whom you've appointed to advocate on your behalf when the time is near?

Yes (     )          No (     )

(8.) Have you completed any of the following: written a living will, appointed a healthcare power of attorney, or completed an advanced directive?

Yes (     )          No (     )

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