The quote, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard," has been attributed to actors throughout centuries. Comedy can help make the hard topic of death, funerals, and estate planning easier to discuss. Lately, I’ve been screening a number of comedy films with scenes related to funerals or death. As I speak to groups on getting the funeral planning conversation started, I’ve started using clips from funny films and television programs to great effect. (I do have a license to do this, addressing that threat … [Read more...] about Funny Films for Serious Conversations: The Six Wives of Henry Lefay
“Don’t have a funeral for me when I’m gone.” People say this, not realizing while the memorial service is about them, it’s not really for them. Funerals are for those still living who grieve the loss of someone they love. Funeral and memorial service rituals help recognize this transition, socially acknowledge the death, and help start processing grief to move toward healing. Dr. William G. Hoy, a grief counselor and death educator, explained, “Very often — with those who don’t stop and … [Read more...] about The Four R’s of Funerals
Weddings plus funerals equal family stress. Whether the event is happy or sad, planned for months or just days, you can bet someone will melt down. July 23, 1983, my first wedding took place on a hot, muggy evening in the garden of an elegant mansion. My father proudly escorted me down the steps. I wore my aunt’s white wedding dress, which had an antebellum hoop skirt that took up a lot of space. A full moon rose in the east as my groom Bob and I stood before the only rabbi we could find in … [Read more...] about Two Weddings and a Funeral: Family Meltdowns
Death and taxes are life’s two certainties. While they are both inevitable, Tax Day in April comes around every year. We get much more practice preparing our taxes than planning funerals or organizing memorial services. Tax Day has once again come and gone, and we know it will be back. Yet death and funerals happen infrequently, and they always seem to be a surprise. I suggest utilizing these five tips to reduce the stress of addressing both death and taxes: Deal with it: Neither the Tax Man … [Read more...] about Death and Taxes: Five Tips to Save Your Sanity
I recently attended the annual convention of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) with Guy Kawasaki as the keynote speaker. His new book, Enchantment-The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions just came out and provided the theme of his talk. What can estate planning attorneys or funeral providers learn from this former chief evangelist at Apple? Here are a few of Kawasaki’s thoughts that could benefit your business: Achieve likeability: Have a great smile … [Read more...] about Advice on Enchanting Your Customers
Have you ever gone to a party, showing up with a bottle of wine as a gift for the hosts, and found they’re not ready yet? Maybe they are still cleaning up or putting the kids’ toys away, the food isn’t ready, or oh no, the bar’s not set up! Two attributes that set a gracious host apart from an unprepared one are the ability to organize and communicate. Most experienced party throwers know it takes some planning to put together a successful event. Celebrations all have similar elements: deciding … [Read more...] about The Party No One Wants To Plan
How fast the changes have come these past few weeks regarding the Medicare provision to reimburse doctors who discuss the options for how patients want to be treated in their final days. The New York Times story on December 26 announced a Medicare provision to encourage end-of-life conversations during annual physical exams being instituted by regulation January 1. Then a “death panel” hue-and-cry erupted, crying foul since the provision had been dropped from the 2010 Affordable Care Act … [Read more...] about Medicare End-of-Life Counseling Disappears Again
At Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral, Glenn Bergenfield, a close family friend who presented a eulogy, said that in her final days, as he looked around the Edwards household for any guidance she had regarding funeral arrangements, he found none. Since she was such a detailed planner, he thought surely she would have left copious notes. Bergenfield said, “As the week has worn on I have begun to think she saw the sad and beautiful metaphor: We must go on ourselves.” Edwards did make plans for her … [Read more...] about Thoughts On Conveying Funeral Plans To Your Family
Maybe you don’t care what people will do to honor you after your death. After all, you won’t be around to enjoy the party. But the people who love you care deeply. My friend Gary, a confirmed bachelor in his sixties with no immediate family in the area, says that he doesn’t want a funeral when he dies. To his way of thinking, he’s not religious, doesn’t like ceremonies or rituals, and wouldn’t want people to make a fuss. But so many of his friends will miss him and his generosity, warm wit, … [Read more...] about Why Have a Funeral or Memorial Service?
Death is a very real part of life, along with taxes. Yet, funerals are the only life cycle event most folks don’t want to plan in advance. Despite the fact that humans have a 100 percent mortality rate, we don’t expect to die. If you don’t expect to die, you’re unlikely to preplan a funeral. And that leads to problems like family discord, higher costs, rote rituals devoid of meaning, and unnecessary stress added to grief. Wedding planning gets way more attention than funeral planning, even … [Read more...] about Over My Dead Body: Why Fear Funeral Planning?