A gift my mother gave me was prepaying and planning her funeral. “What”, you say, “That’s awful.” She picked her flowers and her casket and set up everything with the funeral home. I am so proud of her and grateful that we will execute everything exactly as she wants.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 25 and neither remarried, so their care rested on me and my sisters. My Dad died when he was only 74. He was diagnosed with Bile Duct Cancer a year and a half before. My sisters and I were trying to understand his diagnosis, choose between different treatments, and then advocate for him while working full time with school-aged children. It was hard. Luckily, my sisters and I are tight. Even tighter since my Dad’s death. One of the gifts my Dad gave us was prepaying his funeral expenses. It was Covid, May 2020, and he died in my sister’s living room. I had been living with them, sleeping on the couch next to his hospital bed on and off for the last 2 months of his life. Hospice was amazing and a big help at the end. After he took his last breath, I just had one phone call to make. Everything else was taken care of. I could just grieve. I didn’t have to wonder what he wanted. He had already decided.

Though I don’t have my funeral expenses prepaid at the age of 48, I have shared with my Mom and my husband what I would want to happen if I died unexpectedly. I am a financial planner. I am sure no one is surprised.

None of us are getting out of here alive. Hopefully we are living each day to its fullest. Planning ahead is not somber, it is a gift you give your loved ones. There are so many decisions to make at the end of one’s life, think about what you want and write it down, or fully execute it like my Mom and Dad did.