Grieving alone

“Cremation has been completed.  A family gathering will be held on the east coast at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to local Loveland groups supporting the arts and those in need.  Go to for on-line condolences.”

grieving alone
In Loving Memory – Marie Renner     1928-2017

My wonderful, loving, beautiful, sweet, caring, creative, friend Marie passed away on July 8th at the age of 89.  I read her obituary in the local paper a week later but was left with only sorrow at knowing I could not celebrate her life with her family and friends here locally.  She was a resident of Loveland for the past 27 years and was very involved in the community.

We were in a garden club, a book club and the New Friendships Club together.  She was like a mom to me; always offering encouragement and advice over a cup of tea and a homemade treat. Marie taught my daughter how to crochet and when my daughter got dressed up for her high school proms, she went over to Marie’s house with her date to share those special moments with her.

As some of you know, I lost another friend in May of this year who was cremated and did not have an obituary.  I found out about his death through Facebook Messenger about three weeks after his death.  I missed his memorial service.

An ad in the newspaper below Marie’s obituary offers ObitMessenger, “FREE obituary e-mail alerts for specific people, towns & more.”  Is that what we have come to?  I guess I’m “old school” about the passing of people near and dear to me.  I want an obituary announcing a traditional memorial service or celebration of life.  I need to be with others where the sharing of stories and shoulders to cry on help with the grieving process.

I’d like to know your feelings.  Please leave me your comments.

Obituaries are important – should you write your own?


In Loving Memory

Fredrick Dean Howard

October 10, 1957 – May 12, 2017

What do I do with this tremendous sense of loss?  Last week, I learned through a Facebook message from a “non-friend” that Fred, a good friend and former significant other, was killed in a terrible motorcycle accident on May 12th not far from my home. The local paper reported the accident but did not name the rider and no follow-up story was done. The “non-friend” sent me the message on May 18th but it didn’t show up in my Facebook Messenger folder until June 8th.  I am grateful to her for trying to contact me and we have since spoken.

Read moreObituaries are important – should you write your own?

Funeral costs can “take a bite out of your estate”

funeral costs

Seven ways to cut the cost of a funeral

by Bob Niedt for

July 5, 2016

“In addition to the emotional toll, dying can take a heavy financial toll on the living. The median cost of a funeral runs about $8,500, according to the latest figures from the National Funeral Directors Association, including embalming, viewing, a hearse, a metal casket, a vault and some other related services. The price tag, 29.3% higher than it was a decade earlier, could come as a shock to grieving heirs and take a bite out of your estate.

There are two important points to keep in mind about the $8,500 figure. First, it doesn’t take into account some common cemetery expenses such as a burial site, marker, paid obituary and flowers. Second, it’s the median, or middle, price; some funerals can cost upward of $25,000.

Prepaying for your own funeral is one way to spare your survivors the hassle and expense, but generally speaking Kiplinger recommends thinking twice about prepayment because there are better ways to set aside cash for a funeral. A smarter approach might be to focus on reducing funeral costs. Here are seven ways to save.”  Read more

Advance Directives–Do you have yours?

advance directives

What are Advance Directives?

“A living will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.

Before your living will can guide medical decision-making two physicians must certify:

  • You are unable to make medical decisions,
  • You are in the medical condition specified in the state’s living will law (such as ‘terminal illness’ or ‘permanent unconsciousness’),
  • Other requirements also may apply, depending upon the state.

A medical power of attorney (or healthcare proxy) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your healthcare agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Before a medical power of attorney goes into effect a person’s physician must conclude that they are unable to make their own medical decisions. In addition:

  • If a person regains the ability to make decisions, the agent cannot continue to act on the person’s behalf.
  • Many states have additional requirements that apply only to decisions about life-sustaining medical treatments.
  • For example, before your agent can refuse a life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, a second physician may have to confirm your doctor’s assessment that you are incapable of making treatment decisions.

What Else Do I Need to Know?
Advance directives are legally valid throughout the United States. While you do not need a lawyer to fill out an advance directive, your advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as you sign them in front of the required witnesses. The laws governing advance directives vary from state to state, so it is important to complete and sign advance directives that comply with your state’s law.”

Click here to receive a free copy of your state’s advance directives form

Must-do list: Write or review/update your will

How to Finally Write Your Will

“Gold star if you’ve already drafted one. But more than half of American adults have not. Rachel Emma Silverman, the author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Estate Planning Guidebook, clears away the obstacles so you can check this off your must-do list.”

Check Beneficiaries–One resolution you can keep

beneficiariesLiz Weston, from NerdWallet, reminds us to check our beneficiaries as part of our new year’s resolutions.  She says, “You typically have to name beneficiaries when you open retirement accounts and buy life insurance, but you also may have named them for bank or other financial accounts.  Some states allow you to designate ‘transfer on death’ beneficiaries for vehicles and even real estate.  The people you name in most cases will get the money, even if you’ve since divorced or named somebody else in your will or living trust.  You can check and change many financial beneficiary designations online.  Self-help legal site Nolo has information about naming, changing and revoking beneficiaries for cars and homes.”

Liz Weston is a NerdWallet Columnist whose goal is to help you get smarter about money so you can get on with your life. She’s the author of five books about money, including the best-selling Your Credit Score.

Hospice care provided choices and dignity for my dying Dad

As the holidays approach, my thoughts are with my family, specifically with my deceased Dad. Three years ago this fall, my father was in hospice care at the same rural nursing home where his own father spent his last days.  At the age of 80, my Dad was dying of cancer and did not want to undergo any further surgery or chemo drugs to prolong his life.  He chose to die while receiving morphine for the increasing pain he endured from the growing tumors in his abdomen.

hospice care

In October, 2013, I took time off of work and visited him while he was in hospice care. After signing in at the desk, I walked into my Dad’s private room which was furnished with a comfortable recliner where he spent much of his time, a television, a dresser, a small refrigerator, and a bed.  He also had his own bathroom.  His room also had two corner windows which let in an abundance of natural light and gave him a view of a small, but pretty little yard.

My Dad looked forward to the periodic visits of his two hospice nurses; it didn’t hurt that they were young and attractive.  I was present during one of their visits and was relieved that they were very caring, loving individuals who only had my Dad’s comfort in mind.  They made changes to his oxygen and medication as he needed.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), “The term ‘hospice’ can be traced back to medieval times when it referred to a place of shelter and rest for weary or ill travelers on a long journey.  The name was first applied to specialized care for dying patients by physician Dame Cicely Saunders, who began her work with the terminally ill in 1948 and eventually went on to create the first modern hospice—St. Christopher’s Hospice—in a residential suburb of London.  Saunders introduced the idea of specialized care for the dying to the United States during a 1963 visit with Yale University.”

Read moreHospice care provided choices and dignity for my dying Dad

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