I can hear it now – AND? Or WHY do I care?
For 37 years of my life, my grandmother wore an apron when she was cooking or cleaning. The reason she wore it was because she didn’t want to get her clothes dirty. The makes perfect sense. I wear gloves to protect my hands, sunglasses to protect my eyes, shoes to protect my feet (although I could easily be permanently barefoot) and dozens of other things.
The reason people hire us is because they don’t want to deal with all the emotional baggage when closing out a persons’ life after they pass away. There is no logic in hiring us, nothing that is rocket science. However, none of that matters when you are emotionally involved with the estate. There is no such thing as a simple call, one letter, not much to do or it won’t take long. And, each time something has to get done, the emotion is attached.
Here are a few reasons you may want to consider asking for some assistance:
- My dad only had one bank account ~ found out later he had four.
- My mom lived in a nursing home for four years ~ found out that nothing was done when she moved out of her home.
- My husband left everything to me so there’s nothing to do ~ found out later that when I remarried there were problems with adding my new husband’s name.
- My family wants to maintain control – found out later that asking for help isn’t giving up control but maintaining it, along with my sanity.
People do things for reasons, not logic ~
If you are looking at logic, there is no reason to hire us. But, if you are looking for some help during a long and difficult time, consider the reasons why you want to hire us. We’ll be here to help.
Today I read a blog titled “Concessions of an Over-Giver.” My first thought was, how can you over-give? After reading the blog I understood what she meant. There is a big difference in over-giving and generosity.
That prompted me to think about my giving. Just because I have it and I can, does that mean I should?
Granted, my mindset is if you can help (or give), then do. But how I would define it and how the person receiving it would define it may be different.
Take my career for example. Every time I hear of someone passing away, my first thought is always how can I help them or what can I give them to make this easier. To me it makes perfect sense to reach out and want to make it all go away.
However, sometimes there is no grief, no closure or no acceptance unless the pain is gone through by the person. That doesn’t mean they don’t want help or they won’t accept help, it’s just a matter of what kind of help is best for their situation. And when you ask them how you can help, the usual reply is “I don’t need anything right now, thanks.” But we all know they do need help they just don’t know how to express it in a way that won’t sound selfish.
So I’ve learned to say “Here is something I can help you with, is that alright?” That doesn’t require any thought on their part, any guilt for accepting help and it still gives them the opportunity to be part of the process. Once you have given to them, it’s much easier for them to ask for what they need later on.
Now, my mindset is this. Here is how I can help (or give) to you that I hope is beneficial that won’t be too pushy or aggressive but that ads value to you and your situation.
After the Fact – Final Affairs
My dentist wants me to brush and floss three times a day, I brush three, sometimes more. My A/C guy wants me to change my filter every month, my husband does that (thank you!). My car company wants me to change my oil every 3,000 miles, I do every 5,000 and they want me to rotate my tires then too, can’t remember when I did that last. My carpet cleaner wants me to have them cleaned every 12 months, I barely vacuum the few rooms that do have carpet. My estate attorney wants me to review my documents every year ~ her suggestion is on New Years’ Day ~ I do that. My planner wants me to update my beneficiaries every year, mine haven’t really changed in quite a while.
I could go on but you get the idea.
I’m all for maintenance. My car is 10 years old; it has less than 100,000 miles; it is clean; it is lubed; and it gets me where I need to go. It’s not especially pretty on the outside but that’s not the most important thing to me. My teeth are great! My parents spent several thousand dollars on braces so I feel the least I can do is take care of them, they aren’t easily replaceable.
We could spend a great deal of our time on maintenance for everything we have; material and abstract alike. But, if we are truthful about it, most of us will opt not do anything until there is a problem.
This works in almost every case except death. There is no backing up, no fixing, no maintenance, nothing. Just the end with no option to say one more thing, do one more thing, fix one more thing, or maintain one more thing.
If there is one more thing that I have learned in my profession it’s to “maintenance” the things that are really important; your faith; your family; your friends; your mental, emotional and physical health. Yes other things are important, but no one thinks about those at the end, they only think about the time you spent maintaining the relationship with them. I’m sure these are the MOST important ones.
Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing. Two years ago I had the privilege of spending the last 12 days of his life with him. The very last thing we did together was recite bible verses, him by memory me by reading. When he became too tired to continue, he asked me to read to him, my choice. I chose Hebrews 11, Faith in Action. You can read it here http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews%2011&version=NIVIt’s now a tradition that on the morning of November 30th each year, I read the entire chapter out loud to him again. It is a wonderful reminder of the man my father was. He was never a millionaire in money but was one in friends; he never owned a super fancy car but he always had transportation; he never had a closet full of tailored clothes but he always had something to wear; he never had the highest grade steak but he always had food to eat; he didn’t have a perfect life but was married for 45 years and had 2 children who married and gave him 4 grandchildren.Ask me today what kind of life I hope to have when I reach the end, my answer is “I want to be as wealthy as my father was.”Tisha
Can you think of things that DON’T have an “app” for them? Child birth, as much as women would probably love one; parenting, again, as much as we would like to have one some days; sleeping, I would love this one; showering, no way would I give up those; and somehow possibly unfairly, grieving.
When I get into my office in the morning, the first thing I do is start up the computer, check e-mails, go to my two favorite sites and quickly scan them, check the news, and print off my to do list. All of these require “apps” to run. Then I return e-mails, review reports from staff, take a look at the marketing plan, work on processes for the business; and a myriad of other tasks throughout the day. All of these things require “apps” as well.
But, when a family calls to ask about our service and how we can help them, there is no “app” for that. Taking time to listen, answer questions and reassure them that we understand and empathize with their situation takes a real person. Every conversation is different; each person is at a different point in the process. No “app” is required.
I’m a fan of most things that can make my life easier; make my work more efficient; help with communication to staff in field. However, I’m not a fan of taking away a human touch when one is really needed.
Regardless of how many “apps” there are that apply to any number of situations, when a family calls us, they are going to get the human “app” before anything else. Try it, it’s a great one!