when death happens [image: funeral flowers on coffin with candles in the background]

4 Resources for When Death Happens

Last month was one of those emotional roller coasters that included the death of a loved one and all of the things that come with that. No one could have predicted the circumstances we are in this year. One thing remains the same, when death happens, families come together, one way or another. If you have attended or had to contemplate whether or not you would attend a funeral in the last few months, so much love and light. I know it isn’t easy. We are celebrating life and sharing stories in the midst of everything else happening in the world.

Celebrating Life & Sharing Stories

It should come as no surprise that one of the things I love about celebrations of life is the outpouring of stories and memories about the person. Listening to people who probably haven't seen each other for a long time arguing over different recollections of the same memory makes me smile every time. Yes, there are undoubtedly tears, but usually, there are also hearty laughs and back clapping moments.

Whether we like it or not, death brings people and families together. Just like weddings and births do. As much as possible, I advocate for coming together before an elderly loved one passes away, but that isn't always possible for one reason or another. 

jane's favorite flower [image: sunflower against gray background]
A loved one's favorite flower

Celebrations of life (and the days leading up to it) offer a healing way for those left behind to reminisce and remember. Whether they are good for you personally or not, they are a stop on the grief journey for most people.

I don’t like the formality of everything but love the wake 😁 My default is humor and crassness when death happens. I’m the one laughing when everyone else is crying, and I get glared at. I don’t take those glares personally. I know my way of grieving isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. 

Bottom line… death happens and everyone deals with it differently. There is no perfect way to act, no perfect thing to say, and no right way to feel. We just are where ever we are with it. 

Resources for when death happens

Below you will find a few articles, videos, and tech. I believe we can never have too many resources. Ultimately the key is to actually use them. Should you find yourself unsure of what to do next, you can schedule some time with me here. We will figure it out together.

What to do when death happens

In spite of everything that's happened this year, one thing still hasn't changed. People still aren't sure what to do when that happens. Knowing that there isn't a perfect thing or the right thing to say, start with care and compassion. Those two things have never steered me wrong.  I talk more about what to do when death happens in this article.

End of Life Celebrations

(Photo: Kara Werner.)

Undoubtedly our end-of-life celebrations will continue morphing and evolving to adapt to current circumstances. The expectations of what funerals, memorials, and services will have to change chill continue helping people heal. In the past few months, they have changed quite drastically to keep up with protocols, restrictions, and laws. New Narrative Memorials has continued helping families through this time to grieve and heal together. This article will give you an introduction to New Narrative Memorials and what they do for families around the globe.

goodgrief app – a resource for loss and grief

goodgrief app screenshots

The good grief app is a resource for loss and grief. The ultra-short version is that it sorts people based on grief story and pairs you up based on your life experience. I sincerely wish this app has been around when I was a teenager. As a result, I recommend it every chance I get. You can find a full review and walkthrough here.

Legacy Letter or Ethical Will

While searching for something else I came across a recent article from an author in Ohio. She raises some very good points and talks about death in a beautiful way. Specifically, the idea of Legacy Letters and Ethical Wills struck me. In addition, the story she shares to illustrate her point is touching and relevant. I highly encourage you to read “What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Simplicity in Death

In the end, everything is simple. We know what happens to the living when someone dies, even we aren’t all on the same page re: the after part. The ones left behind have to go on living and the world keeps spinning. As a teen that is the thing that hit me the hardest. Knowing my life would never be the same, but everyone else expected me to just keep going.

So I did and that’s how we ended up here together, you and I. When someone you love dies, things change. Some for the better and some not so much. My choice has been to find the better in every moment and laugh harder between the tears.

To wrap this up, I offer you a way to start these conversations and create moments before death happens. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. You can find a resource to do just that here.