As a clergy, I’ve done memorial services, and have noticed that they come in two types: Open Mic and Closed Mic. One way to note a life well lived, is the Open Mic time at a person’s service. The microphone is open, and those who want to spontaneously speak are welcome to do so. Risky? You betcha!
I’ve never seen it go south, the family always seems to know whether it would be appropriate. My most memorable service was a man who died in his 80’s, a beloved pillar of his community. Some of the people who spoke were completely unexpected, like a young woman who came with her husband and two young children. She spoke of how this man had volunteered with City Team when she was a teenage girl and her family was homeless. This man helped them while in the shelter, and then followed up with them—bringing groceries, befriending the family and in particular, encouraging this teenage girl as she grew into adulthood. They remained friends ever since, and she arranged with his family to sing at his service.
As we enter the New Year and think about our hopes, we can each picture what our loved ones might say about our life during “Open Mic.” Would it reflect a life of caring, service, perseverance, or whatever the values are that we’ve sought to inculcate?
Open Mic Services and Estate Docs
Some of you may be thinking, I’d never want an Open Mic at my service!! That is one aspect that you can include in Estate planning documents, guidelines for arrangements regarding a service.
Power of Attorney
In my November newsletter, I provided some defining terms regarding POA for finance and health care.
We just did a POA for health care over Christmas with our daughter who is 21, discussing and documenting what care she would prefer in the event of accident/illness. It’s a scary but crucial conversation to have–talking honestly about life and death as she is entering adulthood. End of life planning is hard, perhaps because a certain illogic takes over. It feels like we’ve jinxed life for a moment, we’ve made it more likely that something will happen because we’ve been talking about it. As we made our way through the decisions, I reiterated the comforting thought that talking about this does not make it more likely that anything will happen, it just means we’re all ready for anything and hopefully, nothing at all.
Here are the links to PDF forms that use the language from the Probate Code. I advise doing this with a lawyer as part of total estate planning.
QUOTE FOR THE JOURNEY:
“Wouldn’t it help you to realize that you really do live in an epic if your life had a soundtrack?”
― John Eldredge, Love and War: Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of