When we die, so much is left behind aside from memories. Homes that are filled with important papers, keepsakes, clothing, jewelry, furniture, even pets. Many people help remove the burden of tasks that occur with their passing by pre-arranging for their funerals and memorial services, clearly indicating what should be done. Completed trusts and wills are common, which is extremely important and can save countless hours of time, money and emotional strife to those who are grieving. But do you have a plan to help your loved ones in their efforts to deal with your personal belongings? Have you given thought to whom you may want items to bequeathed? Most wills or trusts only cover expensive items or family heirlooms to be passed along to younger generations. What about your favorite piece of art, a recipe book or wood shop full of tools? If you have individuals, either family members or friends who you would like to have any special items, there is no better time than now to record your thoughts. A simple handwritten log or an excel sheet on your computer is a great way to start. Set it up and when you think about something you would like to give to someone special in your life, jot it down, record it. And, make sure to tell someone where this document can be found when you are gone. This will be of immense benefit to those who will be managing your affairs, bringing them comfort knowing that they are doing as you wished.
When you are on the other side of loss, a place where you are grieving for a friend who has suffered the passing of a loved one, it is hard to know how to comfort them. Many times, we send sympathy cards to let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers. Fortunately, today there are many beautiful cards available with pre-written sentiments that express how we feel. But often, especially when it is a close personal friend, we want to personalize the message, something that be quite challenging. So what do you do when the words won't come? A good way to put your thoughts into words is to search for quotes, poems or sayings that mean something to you. You don't need to copy the quote, but it may help shape your thoughts. You can begin with a simple, "My deepest condolences to you upon the passing of..." or "You are in our prayers during this difficult time in the loss of...". Following with a memory of the individual who has passed, or citing the relationship your friend had with that individual is one of the best ways to let someone know that you understand what they are going through. For example, "I know how much your Uncle meant to you and all the memories you have from visits to his home," or "Your brother, I know, was your closest friend, may the memories of all the wonderful years you had together give you strength." The person is grieving for a loss, letting them know that you understand its depth will surely bring them comfort. The most important thing is to not to avoid sending your condolences because you can't find the words. Even if you simply send a card that has a message that expresses what you feel, knowing that you care and are keeping them close in your heart will mean more than most words can convey.