What I Wish I Had Known and Done Before My Mom Died


black and white tulip. death. Des Moines MomIf you have lost a loved one, you may remember the moment you found out about their death. In that moment, your life changed in some way. 

Now, imagine finding out this devastating news at a place dubbed “the happiest place on earth.”

That was me. I did two of the most stressful things you can do in life at the same time. I planned my mother’s funeral while visiting Disney World with my family of four. I called the funeral director while pushing a stroller down the Magic Kingdom, and I wrote her obituary on my cell phone while we watched fireworks at Cinderella’s castle. 

Eventually, we made it home safely and had funeral services that honored my mom beautifully. But what unfolded after her death and funeral was weeks of uncertainty and unanswered questions for me and my sisters as we navigated an estate and our path forward.

Death is the only certain thing in your life. My mother had been sick, but no one can predict the exact time you will die.

Did you know there are 125 tasks that must be done for a funeral? The only thing we knew was that my mother wanted to be cremated. From there, we had 124 more tasks to complete while I swerved a stroller through people at Disney World. 

Don’t be afraid to have the talk

Even basic planning with your loved one can help ease some of this planning. Doing this planning early on allows for more time to honor your loved one once they have passed. 

I’m a natural planner, so I had an urge to plan ahead. I was nervous about asking my mom about her final wishes. I didn’t want her to think I was wishing her death, or scare her into thinking she was close. But the reality is she was close to death.  

Having those conversations with my mom would have meant I could enjoy the fireworks show with my daughter at Disney World. I had a very rare human experience of having to have a tough conversation, then pivot to a fun Disney experience with my children. 

Make Your Own Plan

One of the best gifts you can give your family is to take the burden of planning and paying for a funeral off their hands. 

The Love Always Project is a community of people who believe that planning for our inevitable end will allow our family members to properly grieve, as well as take care of themselves, rather than being wrapped up in the details of picking funeral homes and caskets or writing eulogies and choosing hymns. 

It is a community that supports one another with information and loving guidance. It’s what I needed when I was navigating my own mother’s death.  

Visit https://www.lovealwaysproject.org to find out more about how you can get the support you need – before you are confronted with a day we all know will eventually find us. 


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