Lets talk about a different sort of death.

Those that know me well enough have put up with my thoughts, opinions and ideas about abortion. You more than likely are just about to exit this blog….hang in there with me. I have asked myself over and over again why this certain subject abortion causes so much division, especially between us women.  We must ask ourselves why this is. The staunch for/against, pro choice/pro life and the unwillingness to lay down our armor for a brief time and enter into real dialogue with no agenda, just a bit of honest humility.

“Abortions are like tattoo’s, each having it’s own story. Some choice to hide it, some as a badge of honor.”

abort-ed wom-an 1: one of the class of women whose lives have been permanently altered by the experience of abortion 2: a woman who experiences self-alienation because of her ambivalence over terminating an unwanted pregnancy 3:a woman who, after an abortion, feels aborted herself, physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

I merely have proposed that instead of being a step forward for women’s rights, legal abortion is the most destructive manifestation of discrimination against women today. The abortion mentality is true sexism. Yes, I know this is a stretch. But just hear me out.

Easily available, socially acceptable and legal, it is easier than ever for men to sexually exploit women. When promises of love end in a pregnancy, men are able to manipulate women into abortions so as to free themselves of unwanted commitments. They may say “it is the sensible thing to do,” or resort to threats of some kind, “If you don’t have an abortion, I’ll leave you.” The end result is the same, a woman faces the risks and guilt of abortion alone. If a woman resist such coercion, her exploiter can simply deny all personal and financial responsibility for the “unwanted” child. ” After all sweet heart, you could have had an abortion.” So the abortion “choice” is just another area in which men condition their love and respect on the basis of a woman’s obedience to them. Yes, I know that some of you are already getting mad, ” I didn’t do it for him, it was my decision.” Let us keep pushing through this.

Further, subjecting women to manipulation and threats of abandonment, the abortion mentality attacks the unique value of female sexuality. This comes about by pro-abortion population control zealotry which portrays abortion not as an alternative to childbirth , but as preferable to childbirth. In an attempt to “de-sex” women, separating us from our reproductive potential which has eroded our natural pride we enjoy. Being able to conceive and bear children- a creative wonder that no man can duplicate. Instead of praising this unique potential we have as women, the abortion mentality belittle it, or at best, dismisses it as unimportant. I suggest that no other public policy has ever attempted to undermine a creative capacity of one half of its population. Yes, I know we are capable of many great achievements besides bearing children.

Women are being abandoned by society which has no patience for a “problem” unique to women, an unplanned pregnancy. Instead of receiving the love and support needed to cope with this challenge, women are offered the easy way out, the “quick fix,” the cover up, abortion. Abortion is a make shift solution, superficial and potentially dangerous answer to the problems of a pregnant woman. Abortion is the “cheap love” that society offers as a substitute for costly care and honest commitment. Relationship, genuine sacrificial concern for another.

“Feminist have won women the right to having both family and career, the abortion mentality causes women to feel that they must “plan” children around their careers, because “unplanned” children will ruin their lives. Abortion is defended with arguments that women are restricted by the limits of their careers, their education, or their finances. Faced with this, the sexist abortion mentality says women aren’t “strong” enough to survive an unplanned pregnancy, or an unwanted child or endure giving it up for adoption. Instead of helping women be strong, independent, and capable of handling their lives in spite of the social prejudices against “problem” pregnancies, the easy solution of abortion causes women to be weak, dependent, and made to feel incapable of dealing with unexpected challenges. This tells women that they must depend on abortion to solve their problems for them. Just as in the traditional, male-dominated social order, the abortion mentality says to women what they cannot do, what they cannot handle.

Simply stated, abortion has been sold to women under false pretenses. We have been lied to, manipulated and exploited. For so long we have been silent, too ashamed to speak out, too ashamed to admit our errors

Something I wasn’t aware of, a doctor who performs abortions is obligated to only inform the patient what he or she thinks they should know about abortion. Abortion is the only medical procedure where the physician and staff have a “constitutional right” to withhold information about the risks and possible after effects of the procedure.  This longstanding practice of limiting information available to abortion patients was made a “constitutional right” by the Supreme Court’s 1983 Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health decision and later upheld in Thornburg v. ACOG.

At best, abortion clinics, avoid telling women the truth in order to minimize the natural feelings of fear, doubt, and guilt among other emotions. Creating a comfortable “safe and easy” atmosphere to minimize stress in the hopes of accelerating the recovery process. At worst they avoid explanation for fear of losing a paying customer. Yes, this was part of my experience. It is a fact that must be faced as ugly as it is.

It is my deepest feeling that women are being told lies and are being taken advantage of during an extremely vulnerable time. Being “guided” to choose abortion for the convenience and profit of others. This type of deceit only serves to further add to the psychological and emotional after effects of abortion.  When unexpected feelings of loss, regret or guilt arise the aborted woman is caught unprepared. Feeling betrayed, manipulated and deceived even more as she realizes that abortion was not her only choice. There are support groups, alternatives available of which she had not been informed. She is right to ask, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this before.” or ” I wish I had more time to think about all my options.” Why did abortion seem the only way out?

If you, my dear reader have made it to the end of my different sort of death talk, I leave you with this to consider. I suggest that the greatest threat to true “feminism” is the belief that we as women by securing the legal right to choose to kill our own children, encouraging other women to do so, making it socially acceptable, passing this  legacy down through generations and so much more. Doesn’t this somehow undermine our true essence as life givers and has placed us on a perilis , destructive path with long ranging consequences some experienced now some yet to be. Yes it is powerful, ultimate power to choose between life and death. Yet in order to be accepted into or included in this supposed hierarchy of women one must make a choice as part of the initiation? I am not a feminist in the current climate of our time.  I prefer to be called what I am, a woman. And that alone is powerful.

I wish you peace and blessings. I thank you for listening to me. My heart is in the right place.

Advertisements

Your Death Time Line

Has been a very long time since my last blog. Super busy and well, just haven’t been able to put my thoughts in a proper form to convey it all. The pressure I put on myself to write a blog or to keep up with what I consider my responsiblity to do so, is enormous (in my own mind).

So I decided to share an exercise that might seem a bit morbid to some but I’ve found it helpful and can be a way to get you evaluating areas in your life that might need to be paid attention to. This “experiment” is merely a simulation to represent your life on a timeline. So, let’s get to it.

On a sheet of unlined paper, draw a six-inch horizontal line. On the left side, write the word “Birth” on the right side the word “Death”. I know what you’re already probably thinking. Just do it.  Birth______________6″line______________Death.

Now think of this line as representing your lifetime. Place an X on the line to indicate where you believe you are at present. That is, if you believe that you have lived half of your life, place the X midway between Birth and Death.  If you believe that you have lived two-thirds of your life, place the X two-thirds along the  line.  Once you have placed the X on the line, take note of your feelings.  Do you have a sense of relief?  Of anxiety?  Of fear?  Or a realization that much of your life has passed?

Next, think of six significant events in your life. Examples would be, meeting your spouse or partner, the birth of a child, the death of a friend, an exciting vacation, a failure, a good financial investment, graduation from university, the birth of a grandchild, a car accident.  Number the events 1 through 6 and place the numbers on the line between your birth and the X. What emotions do you feel about each of those events?  What about the emotions you feel about your life as a whole?  Are you satisfied with the life  you have lived?  Do you wish that some things had been different?  Are there events that ought to have been placed on the line but because of the pain they caused, you omitted them?

Now focus on the between the X and Death.  How might you embrace life in the time that remains?  If you didn’t have to live up to the expectations of anyone else, how would your life be different, who would you be?  Are there things you would like to do? Places you would like to visit?  People you’d like to spend more time with?  Conversations you would like to have?  Events you would like to attend?  The baptism of a grandchild, the graduation of your eldest child, a birthday, a bar mitzvah, a wedding, and anniversary?

Choose 6 events and number the events beginning with the number 7 and place those numbers on the line between the X and Death.  How do you feel about each of those events, the people involved in them and your life as a whole?

Now here comes the good part or not so good, depending on how you look at it.  Imagine the scenario in which your doctor informs you today that the symptoms you and he have been investigating are those of a terminal illness.  Unfortunately there are no known treatments that can reverse the disease process.  Some of the medications available may slow the disease, but none of them are known to cure it.  Your life expectancy is six to twelve months.  What might you be experiencing emotionally?

Draw another timeline.  Hang in there, you can do this.  This time, place an X one centimeter from the right end of the line, like this.

Birth_________________________________________X_____Death

If you knew that this was accurate, would you live differently?  Starting when?  Would you care as much what other people think about you or what you do, how you live? How would you fill in your remaining time?  How does this new reality affect the answers to your questions in the previous time-line exercise?  What effect does this have on your feelings?  What about unfinished activities?  Are they still important to you?  Are there other activities that seem important now that you have only six to twelve months remaining in this world?  And, what about looking back over your life?  Does the knowledge that you are living with a terminal illness change your feelings about your memories?  Are there other relationships or events that come to mind as being significant?  Are there things you wish you had done?  Things you wish you had not done?  And are there conversations that you wish had not happened or had been different?  Do you wish you had said somethings that you did not say?

You may become aware of events that you will surely miss.  With that realization, there will likely be a sense of loss and grief.  I know, it isn’t exactly fun to think about all of this but with anxiety can be reduced by introducing certainty.  When facing the anxiety associated with a terminal illness or embracing your own eventual death, you can create a degree of certainty by developing a plan for your care and through the process of a “life review” in which you consciously consider the meaning and the unfinished business of your life.  A “life review” simply means living in the present while looking at the past.  It enables the individual to reconsider life events, relationships, successes, failures and more.  It may also remind you of conversations and activities that might still be desirable.

Today, I will again do this “life review” exercise.  It is a call to live awake and fully present, not an easy task for me I must admit.  I would be so pleased to hear back from you after courageously working through this exercise.

Peace and blessings

How Meaningful Life Therapy helps those that are dying

There was a time when I believed that taking in more information (reading more books, taking more continuing ed classes, conducting research, advocating) would give me the self knowledge needed to solve many of life’s problems. Now I’m not so sure. Either we already know enough or our ways of knowing are saturated or distorted or limited?

Although I hold no master or any level of degree, my primary study in life has been anthropology, the study of humans. Most of that time I’ve been drawn to the study of the human mind and behavior, what makes us tick.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t understand much of anyone’s behavior let alone mine sometimes.

I’ve recently become a student of Morita and Naikan therapy approaches based in Japan. Constructive living. Accepting feelings as just that, feelings..they come and go.  How we behave during them is the key.  How does this play into my Death Doula and End Of Life practice?  A chapter in one of the books I’m currently reading, addressed the topic of the dying and terminally ill using Meaningful Life Therapy.

Meaningful Life Therapy was first introduced in Japan by a physician at Shibata Hospital named Jinro Itami. Along with the usual radiation, and chemotherapy treatments for cancer, a new way of working through death and dying is being implemented with amazing results.Dying patients, must consider what is best to do about feelings and what is best to do about behavior.Fear and anxiety about death are normal. Attempting to eliminate fears associated with a terminal diagnosis is both useless and unnecessary. The more one tries to escape  from the anxiety, the more one focuses on it and the stronger the feelings become.

The theory of meaningful life therapy holds that it is in control over our behavior that hope lies. In spite of our fears, in spite of our personality traits, we can still take responsibility for  what we do in the time remaining to us. The terminally ill are encouraged to behave in ways that turn focus toward achieving purpose, observing and participating in external reality and being useful to others. In the doing of constructive activities a kind of life purpose is rediscovered. The terminal patient moves from private suffering to recognition that others are suffering too. Acceptance of the reality of the illness and the ability to live fully and deeply within the realistic limits imposed by the illness..the time that is remaining.Their final days take on increased life meaning.

We all must accept the inevitabilty of dying. It is impossible to eliminate our basic dread of death while we live alongside it. Behind our fear of death is the strong desire to live life. We must try and be present fully yet realistically.  We can live each day doing well what needs to be done in spite of what will come to us all.

The values underlying this approach to terminal illness “treatment” are worth consideration. Illness brings some loss but also some wonderful possibilities of tremendous gain. For the terminally ill,  lives can be rich and constructive just because of the knowledge of approaching death. Insights become more possible and priorities reassessed.. One may be a patient, but need not be a victim defeated by the diagnosis.There is a strong desire in all of us to leave something behind to others.

A hospital in Japan encourages the terminal to visit other patients if possible and do other minor task around the hospital. The arts and crafts exhibitions give opportunities for leaving something behind in the gallery. There is a sense of communal suffering. It is important to not suffer and die alone. One of my reasons for getting involved with end of life work. These patients agree to live constuctivily regardless of their fears.

Although the meaningful life therapy differs from hospice, there is clear value in both. Meaningful life therapy offers the possiblity of consturctive living and hope for extended living in tragic and terminal circumstances. We continue to live as we are dying. Dying is a special kind of living.

Death exists, to be sure. We shall die, death is natural and necessary. We can prepare for death and we can acknowledge death, but for all our faith and understanding and preparations, death can be terrifying. And that’s all right. Our bodies and minds resist death, we have a built in drive to survive. Yet isn’t it more practical to embrace our feelings and struggles surrounding death? We can’t will these feelings to go away.

Life brings us many kinds of deaths. When friends marry or move, losing contact with them. Parents divorce, loved ones die along with our plans and dreams for the future.We grow old. Parts of ourselves die and are replaced by new ones. Hair and fingernails die, pets, plants…we are surrounded by death. By knowing death, we can remember to use our lives well, to use the time we have to fully live. The greater the fear, the more determination we can have to live life fully.

Something constructive you might do is write your eulogy. Grab a cup of tea and imagine in detail your life from now until you die. What might your final words be if given the chance to speak them? Are you living a grateful life constructively? Could you do this even if given a terminal diagnosis?

Peace and blessings.

 

 

 

“Where is my midwife!” and other perfectly reasonable request.

Over twenty years ago I gave birth to my son with the assistance of a birth midwife. I only personally knew one woman who had done this for the experience and “to save some money.”  Of course my OBGyn was dumbfounded and flabbergasted, questioning my sanity and “Why in the world would you want to do that? I’m perfectly capable of letting you go as far as you can until I see a problem.” Well, I had a “problem “with that, and as I was retreating with my head low his trailing words meant to intimidate or undermine my decision, “Remember this is a V-back and can be very dangerous to you and the baby.”

My doctor was pretty close to a god and well most are to us. There are people who consider me a bit unconventional and my “not the norm” choices don’t come without a price to pay. Yet I found myself questioning my instincts. Was this really a wise thing for me to even attempt? Can a woman still give birth without medical assistance? Those ridiculous thoughts slapped me back into reality and fueled my desire. My husband and I met with the midwife to make a plan and at my next doctor visit I excitedly announced, that my midwife would be wanting to discuss the details with him.  Because my midwife wasn’t on “his team” he wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing her on “his team”. There was no negotiating. My doctor was not the only outspoken voice during this time.  I had very little support from family or friends. I clung to the wisdom and assurances from my midwife that “I can do this”.  Over the months, I prepared myself for a natural birth, my way.  Oh sure I immersed myself in abundant literature, but to take a birthing class I knew for sure, would not help me at all, been there done that.  The only “pact” was made between my midwife, husband and myself.  “If I beg for pain relief, don’t give it to me.” Call me crazy.

Fast forward to labor day. What is important to know is that my midwife had hospital privlages and staff knew her, I didn’t say they liked or appreciated her nor respected her wisdom. She on the other hand always maintained professional courtesy and continuously reaffirmed others her seniority on “my team”. We had visited the hospital several times prior, to familiarize ourselves with the place because I’m not completely irresponsible or out of my mind….a V back,  (vaginal birth after c-section) can have complications.

Arriving at the hospital, we were taken to our birthing room.  I of course am in fast hard extremely painful labor and this is where the “Where is my midwife! What’s taking her so long to get here?” comes in.  My midwife was speeding her way to me, however this gave the labor and delivery staff full access to do as they saw fit all knowing the prearranged protocol and who’s care I was under. Poking, prodding patronizing my request to “not touch me”. The final straw was when a nurse decided to forcefully check to see how dialated I was. “Just need to check things out dear.” This of course began my full blown hard core labor, me screaming and wailing “leave me alone, I want my midwife!” And my husband quietly saying, “I think she wants her midwife.” Well you can get the picture of the riduculousness of the scene.  Sound like a good birth to you?

Like wonder woman my midwife appeared, ran the entire room out with a SCAT, more like a bark and that is when the good birth was able to take place. The staff poked in as required but only to provide any asked for assistance.  I was left to bring forth life my way with support next to me.  Worst physical pain of my life I thought, but I don’t remember the pain. I only remember the beauty of it all, my strength and allowing things to unfold naturally.  Even to do battle with the staff through the 24 hours I was there for observation was exhausting and intrusive. It felt as if I were talking to a wall. “Please turn the room light off. No you can’t take my baby to bathe him.  No, we opted out of that stuff you put in the eyes. No, I’m nursing him. No one is doing anything to him without my permission.” I felt intimidated, and well frightened. Unable to rest for a second. Not a good environment for a new mom to be in. this one anyway.

The reasons I share part of this experience are many. Because I am a death midwife I see many paralells to the process of birth and the process of dying.  Granted giving birth through a midwife/ doula isn’t for every woman, I get that. Using the services of a death midwife isn’t either and seems just as crazy to seek out as a midwife was 20 years ago. Similar to when death was occuring 100 years ago.  Who do you think took care the situation when a doctor would come around and might have pronounced “there is nothing more we can do, best get your affairs in order and call the family.” Yes I know times have changed but why such a struggle to take back the right to die or give birth naturally with the use of a midwives or very little intervention.  Some of us wiggled and fought to get here, some will do it on the way out, with or without support.

I don’t want to scream for my death midwife. The battle that rages on between hospital staff and doctors over the importance of options given to patients to make informed decisions and provide options that may be considered “outside the norm” are worth taking a look at. What is the big deal anyway, why the turf war?  Degreed professionals argue that Death Midwives aren’t degreed and “go highly unregulated”? Certifications now have become the norm. A non medical adjunct to hospice, we are primarily a supportive role to the dying and those in their circle, even a spiritual role.   Doctors and nurses for the most part are there to make sure you don’t die and that you get well, or if you are dying to hopefully bring you the best palliative care and freedom to make end of life decisions. Doula’s are there to support you in the process of dying in the way that you see fit among other very helpful things that nursing staff simply don’t have time for. And that is O.K.  Each doing there part for the patient. A team right?

These days giving birth has come a long way. The fancy hotel like rooms and such. Death, not so much.  Lots of bells and whistles and new ways to keep us alive but, what about what a hospital looks like during death? What I’m trying to say is there are differences in medical care and what a doula can provide.  There is a big difference in checking your vitals and holding your hand. Helping you write “that letter”, tying up some loose ends verses going over your chart. Some medical persons even suggest that this is what a persons family should be doing.  I say that isn’t always true for many reasons. An unwillingness for loved ones to face the patient and even an uneasyness surrounding the entire situation.

Medical staff is just that, medical. There is no shame in admitting this. Yes there are some that would give anything to spend more time, heart time with their patients. They are the first ones to tell you how impossible this can be. The stress and exhaustion alone is an unacceptable burden.  So I say, open your arms to the Doula’s.  All we want is to be supportive to you and mostly to the patient. We are not here to take over our take your job. We are not here to “get in the way”. It’s not about you, it is about the patient and delivering an age old wisdom and care that was around long before the medical profession. This extra benefit just makes sense to give a more perfect balance especially during end of life scenarios. After all, to die is hugely significant. To give a dying person all the support should be a mandatory part of our healthcare system. This should naturally include death midwives or Doula’s.

By the way, I did scream for pain relief.  Just as my beloved midwife raised her trusty syringe, my husband looked me in the eyes and sweetly said, “honey, remember you said not to give you any pain medication?”  It was the one time he opened his mouth during the process that I welcomed.  At that moment he had become my Doula, reminding me of my own commitment to myself. Part of my chosen team. Was my midwife’s ego challenged? No, she was more invested in honoring her role which comes with boundaries and able to embrace being “just a part of it all.”  Within seconds our beautiful boy slithered into this world  eyes wide open in a quiet room surrounded by those I chose to be part of this small yet profound moment in time.  To witness my strength and acknowledge a right of passage with very little medical assistance.

Peace and blessings

 

 

 

Let’s talk about dying again, this year.

I began my certification program April of 2015 with Deanna Cochran and her excellent course “Accompanying the Dying” along with a group of incredible people connecting from all over the world.  An End-of-Life Doula training journey that has been such a powerful experience for me.  I also felt compelled to take a facilitator certification course presented by The Coalition for Quality End of Life care called, “Respecting Choices.” I mentioned in my last blog becoming a board member for Funeral Consumers Alliance of North Texas as if this wasn’t enough. I thank you Jim Bates for your patience and legal expertise in how to bury your dead. There were some pretty interesting cases and well, we never seemed unable to make it funny. “Keep it simple”.

These along with various volunteer and philanthropic duties have kept me as we say, immersed in unknown territories and treading water in information overload.  Have I taken on too much?  Do I really know what I’m doing?  And, feeling like at times that not many are really listening to what I have to say about how bloody important it all is.

“If you build it they will come”, is the mantra that runs in my brain sometimes.  Or as my teacher and mentor Deanna says so beautifully “just put on and wear your cloak of a Doula, don’t worry about the rest.”  So being referred to as “the lady that talks about death all the time”, feels ok now.  It took sometime to accept that it just isn’t a normal topic most care to discuss. You know, can’t we talk about shopping or gun control?  So I’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things this last year professionally and I’m excited to see what next year offers in this field.

2016 I’ve decided to pursue an opportunity with an organization that offers their photography service to those that have lost a child.  To chronicle the dead loved one and capture forever the sacred journey of letting go. I’ve followed this group on Facebook and realized that my fascination with this scenario comes from my experiencing my sister’s sweet little girl Maggie dying shortly after a premature birth in a hospital.  Me insisting on seeing the body of the precious little child in the bowels of the hospital morgue drawer. My sister drugged and overwhelmed with grief with absolutely no compassion from medical staff. Do I have the “skills as a photographer”, no but I can put on the cloak of a Doula and have no problem around the dead or dying….or advocating.  These are skills that are not always learned in academia.

So, again I’m listening to my life experiences pointing the way. What I want to be different this year for me is to “wear my cloak”.  Last year/ the past, I struggled with insecurities from my not being “degreed” and thus not credible within certain professional circles and unable to implement my skills.  This year, I am embracing my unique yet taboo public persona and never forgetting those I was able to help….last year/ the past.

One person or situation at a time. Slowing down and practicing presence is vital. Experiencing each time connection is made no matter how small and allowing this alone to give meaning to my existence.

May this year you find your purpose no matter how big or small in the worlds eyes and be ok with it.

Peace and blessings

 

 

Because I’m a “visual”.

Thought I would introduce myself with a photo my beautiful children graciously took of me today while visiting the Dallas Museum of Art. I’m so very grateful that my twin girls age 25 and their incredible husbands “get it” when it comes to my passions in the area of death and dying.  No problems with having “the talk” with these young adults. Gives me hope that the movement towards empowering ourselves to die well our way, will pick up steam in this particular age group. Peace to all of you and remember, I am here for you with any questions about death, dying or planning a funeral. Have a blessed and safe holiday season.015

Please consider planning ahead for your funeral

I’m making this blog short and as simple as I can.

As a volunteer with the Home Funeral Alliance of North Texas, I’ve made myself available to answer the “hot line”.  These are phone calls coming into our organization that are made by some pretty desperate people. I still find myself torn up with the scenarios and want to “fix” it all, make it better.  The rabbit hole begins once the funeral home has the body, so plan ahead.

I have to make it very clear on almost every occasion that we do not offer financial assistance.  Usually there is silence on the other end and I can tell by now that the caller shuts down and well, just isn’t willing to listen to suggestions we have that can help keep expenses down, or even the tools needed to officiate a funeral on their own.

You see, the “system” has made burying your dead on your own very complicated for the average person.  I am still educating myself on the finer details of it all.  The paperwork, timing and guts that it takes really is commendable to those who have dared to enter the waters of planning a home funeral.  It ain’t easy, but hey….most worthy endeavors seldom are.

The resources are available. Take for instance Home Funeral Guides.  All you have to do is google search and the information is endless.  Our organization will “fight” on your behalf if take for instance, a hospital or funeral home is holding your body or your loved ones body demanding ransom or just intimidating you because you are ignorant of the “rules or laws” surrounding the death business.

The bottom line is this. It isn’t a very loving thing to do, not to plan for your funeral. If you haven’t, then the frenzy that comes upon your demise can be complicated. Family arguments, what you might have wanted and NO FUNDS to bury can make for a very bad situation.  The very least you can do is start a separate savings account, like right now.  You will need it should you or your family choose to go the “Full Service” route. Plan on at the very least $3000 on up.  And I mean up.  Prepaying comes with it’s own risk, COMPLICATED.

The Federal Trade Commission/ consumer.ftc.gov is a really good site that can help with a “check list” and funeral home shopping tips, your rights and the legal responsibilities of funeral home to you, the consumer.

Or you can check out the funerals.org site that is so full of useful information and can direct you to local resources such as Funeral Guides, necessary paper work needed to do it yourself and of course NTHFA.org. The cost, much less expensive. I of course advocate for home funerals or very little involvement from a funeral home, to each his/her own.

My next step is to become “certified” as a Funeral Guide.  To participate in an actual home funeral is on my “check list”. So unless you are wanting to add more stress to your family at the time of your death, plan ahead. Not fare for them to have to take out a loan, solicit funds or sit doe eyed at the mercy of a funeral director to bury you. So plan ahead.Let us know how we can assist you.

Peace and blessings