Jeff Harbeson has cheated death several times. After his latest brush with facing his mortality, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Funeral Finance LLC wrote this recent blog post about “walking the talk” when it comes to funeral planning.
Even funeral directors can suffer the “cobbler’s children have no shoes” syndrome.
Here’s what he wrote:
In the funeral industry, we serve families by walking alongside them after the loss of their loved one. I have often experienced and heard, “it’s different serving our own family when we lose a loved one”…basically a funeral professional having to be on the “other side of the table”.
Even more poignant, and we know this is coming…what about our own personal mortality?
Have you made pre-arrangements? Not necessarily picking out your casket, vault and writing a contract for payment. But actually conversing about the celebration of your life with your closest of family…what you want to be said about you, who should be saying something, where the ceremony(s) should take place, music, video, food, final resting place etc? As a retired military member and funeral professional, my wife, sons and I have had many discussions about my death, of course mostly joking around.
During my life, I have “cheated death”. There have been several instances that I should not have survived. Most recently, I had a totally unexpected and serious medical event that in many cases, the end result is death.
During the entire episode, even in the back of a wailing ambulance, all sorts of beeping equipment, inserted and attached tubes along with a grand arrival notice into the hospital…not once did I think that “this is the end”. However, as most of us do after some of our life’s defining moments, I began to ponder “what if”.
What if my last breath was taken? Yes, my wife knows where all the life insurance documents are located, my final disposition wishes, some discussions about the “party”, music, military honors, etc. have taken place.
But, have I chronicled my life and provided enough information in such a manner so that not only during my funeral my life could be shared, but for the generations that follow me…what will they know? How will they remember me…my life story the way that I want it told?
Several years ago I embarked on a mission that for every birthday of my wife and sons along with each wedding anniversary, I would write a letter. A letter expressing my love, observations, encouragement and blessing of their relationship to me.
However, after this recent event, I reflected upon even more of my thoughts beyond my immediate family and posted on my Facebook page:
To read the rest of Jeff’s reflections on walking the funeral planning talk, visit his blog at MyFuneralFinance.com.