I’ve mentioned funeral planning a few times in my Instagram stories recently, and every time I do people get in touch to say how sad it makes them. Or that I shouldn’t be doing it.
But my response is always the same.
“After life” planning shouldn’t just be for people who are sick. As I’m often told by people trying to minimise the severity of my cancer, “we could all get hit by a bus tomorrow” and if you were, would anyone know what you wanted to happen?
I went to a funeral of someone in their 40s, who died unexpectedly, and it was so very far from what I would want for my day, that it really made me think about it.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that end of life care and what follows doesn’t terrify me – not so much for me, because hopefully I’ll be too high on drugs to know – but for my friends and family, because I know how much it hurts when my friends with cancer die. But planning for that time means that I’m more in control. And it means that the people I love aren’t left to do it either.
Everything I want for my end of life and afterlife is in various documents, from my funeral playlist to flower styles to where my secret Swiss bank account is (jokes!) in the hopes that one day, hopefully, a long time from now, it’ll make it easier for my family to get through my death. It’s not just the party planning aspect of it (because you know I’m micromanaging that 😝!)
It’s so many little things that I hadn’t even thought about until a few years ago.
- Have you got life insurance? Yes I have, but that’s all Jim’s doing from a long time ago. If it was up to me, I don’t think I would have had it sorted.
- Do you have 4 pensions from 4 jobs all over the place that need collating? Yes – but I’m working on it! It’s boring though.
- What about power of attorney? Who’ll make medical decisions for you? Marriage doesn’t always mean that your partner gets the say!
- Who will you bequeath your beautiful DM boots to?
It might not be the most fun planning to do but I think it’s important for you to think about.
But all of this is a massive taboo in today’s society. If I try and raise the subject with most people I’m told to stop being so morbid, or told it won’t happen. But there are a handful of friends who (and I know it’s hard for them to talk about) have learnt to let me tell them about my plans. My wants. My goals for that time. To joke about my ridiculous demands with me. To make me feel like this really real part of my life isn’t completely absurd.