After I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, I began evaluating the best way to spend the precious time and energy I have left. Against a backdrop of grief, I made a list of the things I wanted to complete before I passed. Some goals involved increasing my quality of life, spending time with family and friends, and taking care of business.
Dreading this step
One of the things on my list was taking care of funeral arrangements so my family didn’t have to do it when I passed. Honestly, I’ve been putting this off, because I thought it would be so hard to do.
My good friend Joany died four years ago from cancer, and she shared a lot with me about her dying process. She had an awful experience picking out a burial plot, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. She and her husband went to look at plots, and the caretaker went on and on about all the people he knew who had died of cancer, and how much pain they went through. It was so awful for her. She was so ill that she didn’t have the strength to tell him to stop.
Through tears, I told my husband that I didn’t want to go through something like that. He’s a great problem solver, so I asked him to help me come up with a plan should that happen to us when looking at plots. He did. He said we should present ourselves as a retired couple who are taking care of concerns such as updating our trust, consolidating our finances, and making funeral arrangements. All true.
He said we shouldn’t share that I have a terminal illness or share anything personal that would invite comments or questions. If someone asked about my oxygen, I’d say I need a little when I move around and leave it at that.
Easier than expected
I felt a lot better about going to look at burial plots after talking with him. We just got back and it was so much easier than I expected. Whew! Thanks, God!
He took us around in a golf cart and asked questions about whether we want a plot that has a flat marker or a raised headstone, as they were in different areas of the cemetery. He asked about where we’d want the plot to be, such as near the edge of an area, in the middle, or under a tree.
My husband had some definite preferences, so it helped that he was contributing, too, rather than it being focused on me, the one who is dying. We paid for our burial plots, and away we went.
I’m so relieved! It helped to have a plan, and approach it from the perspective that we are taking care of arrangements everyone who’s retired should address. We still have to meet with a funeral home and monument company. We are going to meet with them over the next two weeks, and we have the same plan going in.
Friends, it’s so hard to face our upcoming death. I understand how easy it is to ignore things like this, because I’ve been doing it for over a year. What helped me pull the trigger was that I don’t want to make these arrangements later when I’m feeling even worse. I also don’t want my husband and kids to have to figure all this out after I pass away.
I’d love to hear from you
Have you made funeral arrangements? What was it like for you? Do you have any advice to those who haven’t made these arrangements yet?
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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.