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Old 02-20-2017, 07:35 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,845 posts, read 51,301,408 times
Reputation: 27662


Most of us here have had a loved one die. We have experienced the loss, the grief, the sorrow, and for a lucky few a continuation of life while where the deceased lives within us as a joy and treasure. What we have also all had as an experience is a regret of things not done, questions not asked, and loose ends left hanging, no matter how careful we tried to be.

I just went to the grocery today, and a cashier I had not seen for a year was there. In making connection with her (we do that in Alabama) she stated that her father had terminal cancer. It was a stunner, but I commented that she might want to get a tape recorder or something similar and ask questions about family relations, important events, and anything else she could think of. Having that information might not be important for her but could be for other family members and it would be an ongoing connection with her father.

The experience made me recognize that we are in some ways a privileged group, in that we all have the experience to put together some kind advice for those about to go into the experience we have had.

Using your own pain to guide others through their upcoming pain, what unique advice do you have to offer someone about to experience the loss of a loved one? To help guide responses, I'll set these scenarios:

Overall loss

Loss of a parent

Loss of a mate

Loss of a child

Please be as kind and gentle as you can be, but also be realistic. If you don't know or don't have a response for more than one situation, that is fine. It is all about authenticity in advice, not guessing what should be good advice. Take your time. Don't immediately respond, but take a day or more to gather your thoughts. Take what regrets you might have had and let them help someone else.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:41 PM
4,836 posts, read 2,145,909 times
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Will come back later to give tidbits of guidance to those who are walking this path. Just wanted to chime in that the tape recorder is a wonderful idea!
Thank you for starting this post.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:21 PM
Location: Carbondale, Illinois
24 posts, read 16,197 times
Reputation: 70
I wish I had taped my husband's voice, calling me by my nickname, so I would always hear it. This is true of my son, I wish I had a ]tape recording of his voice. Unless someone is a celebrity, no one imitates them and voices are unique.

There are so many questions I wished I had asked my mother, now will never know the answers. I have most of her recipes, but that is something people may want. I make many of them, and a lot of them, it was by feel, and with practice can imitate. If there is something they enjoy, write it down.
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:56 AM
3,962 posts, read 5,248,587 times
Reputation: 4549
I have a wonderful tape recording. When my son was in 7th grade, he was given an assignment to interview a parent. He decided to interview his dad. So the tape, which is about an hour long, is the voice of my young son asking questions of his father, and all the answers all about his childhood, how he grew up and such. My husband's voice is young and strong, as it was before he was ill. I cherish that tape. I need to get it converted to digital, as I know magnetic tape can degrade over time.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:06 PM
Location: 76102
3,200 posts, read 1,485,423 times
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My brother passed away Friday, 2/17. I felt sad initially, and then that passed. We were not close, he chose to estrange himself from me and my mother (who has passed). I shed some tears as he had lots of medical issues from his childhood on and had a hard life because of them. He was on disability and his lifestyle was very restricted.

I have four cousins that I am not close too, and my son.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years who seems just la-di-da and not upset at all. I find that weird.
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:34 PM
3,266 posts, read 2,336,935 times
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So sorry about your brother.

One thing that gave me comfort when my dad passed was something in our family culture that had changed when my (2nd) husband and I married many years ago. He said "love you" at the end of every email, phone call and goodbye. I started saying it to the kids. The kids started saying it back. I would say it to my parents on the phone and it always seemed to take them off guard, and they would stammer a bit but then say love you too.

And it's true, we all do/did love each other, it's just that for a long time, no one really said it out loud. Now we do. And I know that my last words to my dad were "love you".
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:09 PM
Location: Wonderland
40,887 posts, read 32,658,014 times
Reputation: 57020
I have two precious video recordings of my father. One is him reciting a poem that he loved - a long one, and he messes up during it at one point and laughs and looks over at people in the room - it's very conversational.

The other one is where he is doing a goofy dance with my youngest son, who is 6'5" and super handsome. They both just look GREAT and that was only a couple of years ago. My dad is laughing and smiling and acting silly and it's just adorable.

I wish I had more.

Another really unexpected gift that I felt was from God was this: Several weeks after my dad passed away unexpectedly, I ran across THE VERY LAST photo I took of him, just a week or so before he had his stroke, sitting in my backyard and looking so happy and peaceful. It was in my Facebook timeline of all things - just a quick, casual photo I'd uploaded just because it was a casual, enjoyable evening on a beautiful fall day. He had his hands crossed and clasped across his little tummy, and so his hands are really front and center in the photo and they show up really well. I absolutely loved my dad's hands - they were strong and capable and yet somehow graceful - and I inherited the female version of his hands, which I've always appreciated. So this final photo - the very last one taken of him well and happy - sitting in my own back yard and looking warmly straight into the camera, with those beautiful hands so apparent in the photo - wow, what a precious gift.

It took my breath away when I found it.

Here's a cropped version of it.
Attached Thumbnails
Advice for BEFORE a passing-last-picture-healthy-dad-before-stroke  
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:25 PM
365 posts, read 706,149 times
Reputation: 365
Because I lost my mom in a accident and there was no time for goodbyes my advice to all is and by all I mean everyone I don't care how old you are, accidents happen please please write down your wishes regarding funeral arrangements, burials, headstones, etc. I can not explain how difficult this is to do without knowing true wishes of your loved one.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:54 PM
4,836 posts, read 2,145,909 times
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-create the living will for medical directives
- make peace. Both deserve it..
-Ease the transition with grace and dignity to the afflicted.
- respect and abide by their wishes.
- hug more,laugh more and listen more.
- sometimes be silent and simply breath in that they are still here in the moment with you.
I regret that I didn't tape some very special moments my mother and I shared. Her evening routine of bath, and dressing for the night was " our special" bonding time. I was her caregiver for ten years... During the bath time...We shared topics of the day... Gosh how we laughed!!! To the point of tears.She really was my best friend of 50 years along with being my mom. I miss her saying...I love you more.. or encouraging me when I didn't have a good day... I miss her sparkling blue eyes..Her laugh.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:11 PM
3,263 posts, read 2,839,361 times
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I have to agree that having a will and all related formalities is highly recommended. Another thought is to have passwords to your financial accounts can speed the process of getting information about checking, savings and retirement accounts. You can keep your passwords in a safe deposit box or some similar secure place.

One of the (many) things I came up against was that MG didn't want to discuss his prognosis or what happens after. I certainly understand. I only heard from a family member that he "maybe" wanted to be cremated, but no one gave me definite answers. I decided not to do that. He came into this world in one place, and to do otherwise tore me up. Now, I struggle with that decision. I have no idea if he would be okay with my choices or if he would completely disgusted.

Leave a list of everything the way you want it. I had to choose between burying him in his Harley gear or a suit. I chose the suit, even though he would be more comfortable in his leather, because he would also want to be "dressed properly" when going to see his maker. I did send his Harley gear with him, in case there is a most excellent dealership where he was going.
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