Decisions for Seniors

It’s been a while since I wrote here, and a number of life events got in the way. Not the least of which was the Covid pandemic, attempts to control the spread of disease, and social distancing.

Here in Northern Alabama life is just as interesting. After we retired from full time RVing, my DH and I recognized the need to make some decisions which would affect our senior situation. These are the type of things a lot of people don’t like to talk about, although it’s often necessary.

The number one issue, being a big ticket item, is funeral planning. This is often a major investment, and consequently this type of event requires advance planning; mostly because once your dead your fate is out of your hands. Literally.

Since my DH and I spent our early retirement volunteering and working to make the earth a much better place. A grand adventure, well planned, well lived and a story for another time.

Now, let me say, long before the pandemic hit, my DH developed some unique health problems. Having spent 42 years in healthcare, I suggested there was something to be learned from the development of his health issues. Since we often stepped up to assist others, we decided to donate our bodies for research or teaching purposes when we died.

Over the holidays our grown children visited. They were hesitant to bring up the subject of dying, but they did ask if we were open to preplanned final arrangements. My husbands parents had passed when the children were younger, but my mother lived well into her eighties and she preplanned her own funeral. Always a good idea, especially with multiple siblings. Preplanning removes a lot of stress and all the arguing you hear about at times like these.

I, for one was excited. Seemed like the perfect segue to sharing our plans to donate for medical research.

Not so much.

“This is perfect,” I told them. “your Dad and I have decided to donate our bodies for medical research.”

“Medical research?” he said looking slightly befuddled. “And then what happens?”

Confused, I asked,”I’m not sure what you mean?”

“Well, what about a funeral? What happens to your body? How do we bury you?”

I took a deep breath. “Well, when the Medcure people are done with the body, they cremate it, and send the remains to you if you want them. If you don’t want our ashes, they’ll spread the ashes at sea.”

“No funeral? No funeral at all? What about a service, a viewing, a wake?”

I took a deep breath. Over the years we’d discussed the uselessness of expensive and elaborate funerals. I’d always felt that the prohibitive cost was a waste of money, and self indulgent on the part of some. The expense often fell to family members who didn’t need to spend thousands of dollars to prove they loved you. I knew how my family felt, and they certainly knew me.

Or at least, I thought they did.

“What about a grand Irish Wake? You always told us the best stories about Irish wakes.”

“Medcure will send you our ashes if you want them. But I have to be honest. I can’t believe you think I should pay for a party I have absolutely no chance of showing up for. Just sayin.”

“Have a discreet memorial service. Tell stories about the good times I enjoyed with you and the not so good times.One you get everyone laughing. I may just show up, body or no.” And then I winked at him.

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Published by Ane Ryan Walker

Ane recently retired from travels with her personal Romance Hero Husband and settled in Northern Alabama. They're still enjoying adventures, romance, and the great outdoors. She writes about those travels and her new adventures settling in the country, writing, and romance in the age of the pandemic.

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