If January is your time to plan for your best year yet, we invite you to include planning for your inevitable, unpredictable death. Say what? How can planning ahead for my death help me have a great year, you ask? Exploring all that matters in the end will connect you with all that matters now. Promise.
People in their dying days sometimes speak of experiencing enormous growth and transformation. It can be a time of truth seeking and risk taking. In the face of death, some people tend to focus on what gives (or has given) their life meaning.
If you’ve experienced the death of someone close to you or had a serious health risk, alongside your sorrow or perhaps even your relief, you may have felt a compulsion to renew or change something in your life. I did. It was after my parents died fifteen years ago that I finally manifested my latent dream to work in the field of peace building.
You don’t need to wait until death or illness to reflect on what matters most to you.
A death or health risk may have inspired you to dig deeply into the meaning of life, who you are, what you stand for, and how you wish to be remembered.
These days when I need some inspiration to try something new, or to get past a fear of a perceived risk, I take concrete steps to actually plan ahead for my inevitable and unpredictable death. In addition to giving me peace of mind, these steps remind me that my life is finite and that this is NOT a dress rehearsal. It’s the wake up call I need now, before my time’s up!
Departure Directions is our term for your written instructions or guidelines—determined by your values, beliefs and priorities—for how you wish to be cared for and remembered after you die (your after-death care). It includes how your body will be cared for and by whom, how you will be laid to rest, who you would like to involve, and what rituals, if any, will be carried out.
In WILLOW’s Departure Directions workshop we’ll guide you through information and questions that will help you explore what matters most to you. In a safe, creative and fun environment, you’ll get present to the reality of your mortality, and alleviate concerns and/or fears you have about your inevitable death. Participants have walked away feeling lighter and more energized to live their lives.
We have two events coming up in Greater Vancouver, BC that will enable you to dive into writing your own Departure Directions.
On Tuesday, January 30, join us in South Vancouver for a free evening introduction to Departure Directions, hosted by KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony, the funeral provider that holds Michelle’s funeral director license. To register for one of the limited spots please email email@example.com.
On Saturday, February 10, we facilitate a full-day workshop in North Vancouver presented by St. Andrew’s United Church to the public, by donation. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Begin exploring your Departure Directions right now
Begin your own exploration by contemplating one or more of these questions:
- Reflect on a death ritual you attended and consider what was great about it and how it impacted you.
- Reflect on three-to-five core values that guide the way you live and think about how they can guide the way you are cared for after you die.
- How would you explain your beliefs about what happens to you when you die?
Please join the discussion at the bottom of this post. We’d love to hear from you.