Wednesday, August 21, 2019

GOOD GRIEF, "Funeral Choices"


Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation


Keep in mind that these are very personal choices, some of which may have been preplanned, while others are determined on an emergent basis. It is important to have a knowledgeable family or friend go with you when you meet with the funeral director. I have listed some of the choices you will be faced with during this time. The funeral parlor I used had a nice check-off list that made it clear what services were available.


Choice of funeral home
Family history of use
Recommended by others
Unknown
Type of funeral
Traditional with coffin and cemetery burial
Cremation with urn or scatter ashes
Home Funeral; Other
Type of service
Traditional
viewing
Private viewing
Memorial
Clergy involvement           
Church
service
Gravesite service
Memorial service
Burial container
Coffin style
and cost
Urn style and cost
Other
Burial site           
Local cemetery: ground or mausoleum
Military cemetery
Urn; body donated to science; other
Flowers (often donated afterward)
Funeral parlor
Cemetery
None; donation to charity in lieu of flowers
Obituary
What to include
Cost
How to disseminate
Sign-in book
On podium
On table
Who keeps
Prayer cards
Choice of card
Number of cards
Where to display




Funeral Choices (continued)

Speaker tributes
Family
Friends
Work associates
Music or singing
Who will sing
Who picks music
What kind of music
Photo tribute or video
Choice
Who to create
Who to remove
Communication regarding events 
Who’s in charge
Who needs to know
Method to disseminate information
Post-event gathering
Who coordinates
Where to occur
Catered or closed dishes brought
Other costs
Number of attendants from funeral parlor
Accessories used by funeral parlor
Hidden costs





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With her permission, I am serializing here nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD


Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: 




UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, 12, "Dog Manners"


Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication


 Sassie thought about her mother and the way she had taught so many of the lessons.  It was a play method but also important communication skills.  Recently they had begun to learn many of the social skills.  Goldie considered these lessons an introduction to manners.
 
The first lesson in manners was the Look Away.  It involved the orientation of nose and eyes.  The eyes are looking where the nose is pointing.  There is no body tension and the tail has a long sweep to it.  This Look Away position is used if a dog approached.  

Looking away from an approaching dog is the polite way to encourage the approaching dog to continue to come toward us.

She stresses that to stare into the eyes of an approaching dog is not only impolite or rude, but this stare says, “I want to attack or fight you!”  She continued to explain that the opposite of staring is blinking.  Blinking is always a positive message.

The Paw Lift can indicate curiosity or uncertainty.  Sometimes the Paw Lift may be used when stalking or pointing.  This lift can accompany a moment of silence.  The anticipatory Paw Lift is used when a dog is alert.  The ears are up and the eyes are intensely focused on a particular object.  The Paw Lift can also be a waiting gesture.  This is used in anticipation of a pleasant event.  Mom taught that a Paw Lift is usually a positive message.         

The Butt Sniff is the way dogs can find out about each other.  The mannerly dog will never enter another dog’s personal space.  During a mannerly sniff, the body posture of both dogs would be relaxed.  However, if the dog doing the Butt Sniff is diving for a rude or unwanted sniff, the other dog (the dog being sniffed) will indicate a tucked tail or ears plastered back against the head as a statement of disapproval.

We learned some calming signals like the Lip Flick, sniffing, yawning, down with belly to the ground, scratching, and shaking off.  Calming Signals are used to prevent things from happening and to make friends with people and dogs.  Sometimes the calming signals can also be used as Negotiation Signals.

On this day, we decided to practice some of the social moves.  We started our play with the usual Play Bow.  We played until the night had surrounded us.  One by one we entered the den for a good night’s rest.   Sassie did not know that this would be the last time she would spend a night with her family.



###

With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, the material from this novel by Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through amazon.com: 

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Sassie-Novel-Human-Communication/dp/1977206093/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Understanding+Sassie&qid=1559053238&s=books&sr=1-2





As her editor and coach, I aided Helen through my WriteYourBookWithMe.com endeavor.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

WHAT EVER HAPPENED ...? Book Talks, 2018-2019


FROM THE DESK OF… AUTHOR JANET JOHNSON SCHLIFF, M.S.ED.

What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence?
My Brain Injury from My Massive Brain Tumor

What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence?: My Brain Injury from My Massive Brain Tumor

BOOK TALKS AND SIGNINGS

Where Janet’s been in 2018

Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Oblong Books Bookstore in Rhinebeck, NY, on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 p.m.

Janet was on WKNY Radio 1490 in Kingston, NY, on Thursday, March 1 at 9:10 a.m. 

Janet spoke at Barnes & Noble in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on March 6 at 7 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, on March 17 at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. 

Janet spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, on April 3 at 4 p.m. [They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.]

Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on April 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library in Stone Ridge, NY, on April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hurley Library in Hurley, NY, on May 4 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Kingston Library in Kingston, NY, on May 9 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library in Staatsburg, NY, on May 14 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Clinton Community Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on June 9 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Gardiner Library in Gardiner, NY, on June 11 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, NY, on June 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WTBQ-FM (93.5) on June 29 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Esopus Library in Port Ewen, NY, on July 13 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Pine Plains Library in Pine Plains, NY, on July 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Ulster Library in Kingston, NY, on July 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Northern Dutchess Bible Church in Red Hook, NY, on August 11 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at a writers' group in Rosendale, NY, on August 30 at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz, NY, on September 6 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie, NY, on September 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WRIP-FM (97.9) on September 21 at 8 a.m.

Janet again spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on September 22 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Enchanted Cafe in Red Hook, NY, on September 28 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hyde Park Library in Hyde Park, NY, on October 4 at 7 p.m.

Janet participated in an Author Weekend at the Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY, on October 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Tivoli Library in Tivoli, NY, on October 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Germantown Library in Germantown, NY, on November 7 at 6 p.m.

Janet’s interview for the TV program Wake Up with Marci on the You Too America Channel aired on Monday, November 5, and Friday, November 9. It is now available on the Internet.

Janet participated in the Red Hook Middle School’s College and Career Cafe in Red Hook, NY,  on December 19 at 10:30 a.m.




FROM THE DESK OF… AUTHOR JANET JOHNSON SCHLIFF, M.S.ED.
What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence?
My Brain Injury from My Massive Brain Tumor

BOOK TALKS AND SIGNINGS

Where Janet’s headed in 2019…

Janet will speak at the LaGrange Association Library in LaGrange, NY, on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.

Janet will participate in the New Creations Gift Shop Authors’ Event in Fishkill, NY, on Saturday, September 21, at 12 p.m.

Janet will speak at the Sport and Physical Medicine Center’s “Lunch and Learn” in Kingston, NY, on Tuesday, September 24, at 12 p.m.

Janet will speak at the Pawling Senior Center in Pawling, NY, on Wednesday, October 9, at 12 p.m.

Janet will speak at the Morton Memorial Library’s Book Club in Pine Hill, NY, on Thursday, October 24, at 6 p.m.

Janet will speak at the Sarah Hull Hallock / Milton Library’s Tea in Milton, NY, on Friday, November 1, at 3:30 p.m.

Janet has been invited to speak at high school health classes, hospitals, and senior centers, dates to be determined.

Where Janet’s been in 2019

Janet spoke at the Poughkeepsie Brain Injury Support Group at the Poughkeepsie Galleria Mall in Poughkeepsie, NY, Saturday, February 23 at 12 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Stanford Library in Stanfordville, NY, Saturday, March 9 at 10 a.m.

Janet spoke at the Howland Library in Beacon, NY, Wednesday, March 20 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the West Hurley Library in West Hurley, NY, Saturday, March 23 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the East Fishkill Library in Hopewell Junction, NY, Monday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Grinnell Library in Wappingers Falls, NY, Saturday, March 30 at 10:30 a.m.

Janet spoke at the Dover Plains Library in Wingdale, NY, Friday, April 5 at 6 p.m.

Janet participated in an Author Talk at the Saugerties Library in Saugerties, NY, Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Red Hook Community Center in Red Hook, NY, Wednesday, April 24 at 5 p.m.

Janet participated in the Authors’ Event at the New Creations Gift Shop in Fishkill, NY, Saturday, May 4 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at St. Timothy's Church in Hyde Park, NY, Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m.

Janet spoke at the Moffat Library in Washingtonville, NY, Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Beekman Library in Hopewell Junction, NY, Saturday, May 18 at 10:30 a.m.

Janet spoke at the Pleasant Valley Library in Pleasant Valley, NY, Tuesday, May 28 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Blodgett Library in Fishkill, NY, on Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Westchester Medical Center's "Lunch and Learn" in Valhalla, NY, on Friday, June 14 at 12 p.m. (And because this went so well, she has been invited to speak at two more hospitals, dates to be determined.)

Janet spoke at the Fishkill Ability Center in Fishkill, NY, on Thursday, July 11, at 11 a.m.

Janet spoke at the Marlboro Library in Marlboro, NY, on Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Plattekill Library in Modena, NY, on Saturday, July 20, at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Rosendale Senior Center in Rosendale, NY, on Wednesday, July 24, at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Newburgh Library in Newburgh, NY, on Monday, July 29, at 7 p.m.

More talks are being planned for 2019… contact her at 845.336.7506 (h) or 845.399.1500 (c).                                                                 

14 August 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019

GOOD GRIEF, "Make Lists..."


Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation



Make Lists of Things  that Need to be Done

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
Pablo Picasso
Such a simple thing to do, make lists, but a huge task at a time such as this.

However, making lists of things that need to be done gives you a purpose and keeps you focused. You may have difficulty with this at first, so rely on a friend or relative to help you until you get over the initial shock. Some people find that having something concrete to do keeps them busy, giving them some respite from the feelings of loss they are experiencing.

Some people plan their transition to death prior to the event, while others come meet it with no plans. My suggestion is to at least know the wishes of each other and the name of the funeral home you want to use, as well as their telephone number.

I had been to several funerals in the past, but not as many as some. I never paid attention to the details. I just came, paid my respects, gave comfort, and left, not realizing all the details that were involved.

Fred’s death awakened me to the multitude of things to be done and choices to be made. Since my husband wanted to be cremated and have no viewing or other formal celebration, our details were less complicated, less expensive, and quickly taken care of. For others, it is more complicated and expensive and lists are needed to keep track of all the details. One suggestion: discuss and plan your funeral wishes and details beforehand.

After the funeral details are completed, you move forward to the many other details that never seem to end. Financial accounts, insurance policies, joint ownership, death certificates, living expenses, debts, and many unforeseen issues arise that will need your attention. I dealt with all of this by making list…after list… after list…to keep it all together.

Keeping a notebook with divided sections really helped. Each note identifying accounts, dates, times, phone numbers, and conversations – then tracking follow-ups, next steps and completions. Tedious work indeed! I was even complimented by my financial planner, Jason, at how organized I was.

Well, if I didn’t do it, how would it get done? I thought. I had no magic wand or genie in a bottle to grant my wishes.

However, I did not feel so well organized. I suggest that you have a list of all your financial accounts, insurance policies, deeds, owner’s certificates, and other valuables to save you time and the stress of searching for them and not knowing what resources you have.

Funeral directors and their business managers can help greatly. Christian Oakes, the business manager at Joseph A. Ward Funeral Home in Linwood PA, had been familiar with some of my husband’s family members’ funerals, but we had never really met. However, he did remember the family name, which provided some connection and comfort. I could not have asked for a more wonderful young man to assist me in this manner.

He knew the questions I needed answers to before I asked them. The check-off list he had was so helpful and offered a variety of options for the management of funeral arrangements. He also made sure I had the right number of death certificates and who needed originals versus copies. He also said he would check with my husband’s previous employer, as he knew from experience that there had been insurance policies by the company for retirees. This was something I did not know. I put it on my check list to follow-up on, too. He also contacted me when there were any new developments. I am grateful for his care and compassion.

Today’s funeral homes have websites that provide lists of services offered. One site I recently visited had a list of recently deceased persons with photographs. Upon clicking the photograph, you are provided with a variety of data related to this person that may include an obituary, date, time and site of the viewing and funeral, a slide presentation of memorabilia and more. Additionally, there was information on topics related to the grieving process, written by a psychologist.

Later, check lists can become a habit and lead your path for each day. The check lists may well start by including daily “normal” tasks as well. Simple tasks that you might forget if you live alone: take out the trash, pay the bills, put the recycle bag out on the specific day, go to the grocery store and others. I did this because I was forgetful due to the stress. I needed the reminders. Also, I did this because it was quite natural for me as a “detail-oriented” person.

Almost a year later, I no longer wrote as many lists that concerned the loss event. I completed many tasks through this journey of grief and loss that emerged and needed attention. It took many months to start checking off some things. You never know when something new will arise, but within a year you have had the practice and are prepared.

Keep the notebook with the lists of what has happened, especially with financial transactions. They will come in handy when it is Tax Day and you need to recall whether you rolled over an IRA or retirement money or took the cash. It can be your proof and avoid another headache. One extremely important item that has caused me much grief was dealing with utility companies. Save yourself a huge headache by closing out utility bills listed in your husband’s name as soon as you can to avoid an exhausting merry-go-round ride.

        Think about developing your own list for dealing with bills and finances connected with the death of a spouse:
        what are my bills?
        what banks do I have accounts in?
        what stock accounts or IRAs or 401k accounts do I have (or did my spouse have)?
        who is the beneficiary on the accounts?
        what accounts need to have a name change?
        whose names are the car and house titles in?
        and what are the monthly payments if you do not own?
        are there any insurance policies on the deceased?
        who needs to be contacted?
        what should I do with funeral arrangements?
        how many death certificates do I need?
        was my spouse a veteran?
        does my spouse’s last employer have any outstanding policies related to him/her?
        what are my monthly bills?
        what are my real-estate taxes, school taxes, township taxes, car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, quarterly tax payments, life insurance payments, health insurance payments?
        are the payments electronic or paper?
        are payments automatically deducted from your account?
        what are my debts?
— just to name a few items that need your attention.
I know that this can seem overwhelming, so I have included two sample worksheets at the end of this section to give you a starting point. One is a sample To Do List and one is for Funeral Choices. These are not all-inclusive; you may have different information to add.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
— Benjamin Franklin
The To Do List contains names and telephone numbers of all the companies I pay bills to as well as what time of the month the bill comes. I can look at this anytime to find the contact information I need. I keep this document on my desktop computer for easy access. I could also print it out if needed. Yours may contain different information. It’s a great tool.

The Funeral Choices document contains some, not all, of the information relating to choices you need to consider when arranging for your loved one’s funeral. I created this after the fact as I stumbled through the grieving process. Please know that the funeral home will have a more comprehensive list, along with individual cost for services.

I also created a finances worksheet, which is not included, in order for me to understand what my finances for the year were going to be, with just one small retirement income and Social Security. I created a spreadsheet with a column of months down the left side and a list of expenses and income items across the top. Each column would add up for a yearly total. Each row would add across to the end of the expenses or the end of the income. There was a total for all expenses and incomes. This could also be done with a paper ledger. Either method will work.

Remember to enter the numbers monthly and to check the figures every six months and at the end of the year, then make any corrections needed — I did find a few errors and corrected them as I went along. These interventions worked great for me. However, it is up to you to determine what meets your individual needs. You may even be lucky enough to know and have the help of someone knowledgeable to assist you with this, whether they be a family member, a friend or professional.
AFFIRMATIONS:
        I have everything I need for an abundant life.
        I have clarity in knowing what tasks need to be accomplished.

        I feel confident that I can meet the challenges presented to me at this time.





###

With her permission, I am serializing here nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD


Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: