new blog and new venture

It is official, I am now in the blogosphere! I have  been encouraged by my author/editor/publisher friend, Beth (contact info below), to start blogging about the project we are embarking upon. I will begin with how it all started…

In July of 2007, my mother lost her battle with cancer that had been discovered only a year before. It was a form of cancer in her mouth. She was in excellent health throughout her life, never drank, nor smoked, always thin, she never even cussed and she died just a month after her 66th birthday. Way too young. After she died, I searched for a resource that would tell me what to do (logistically) after the death of a loved one. I wanted to help  my dad as much as possible with closing credit card accounts and such. I found a few lists online however, I did not have much luck. Being a list driven person, I decided to create my own. Just one year later, my dad died. It was crazy. Thankfully, I have four wonderful siblings and we all came together like nobody’s business and handled all that needed to be handled with very little friction and much love and support toward each other. A testament to my mom and dad for raising such good kids. 

But again, after dad died we were all in logistics mode, who is doing this? Who is doing that? What have we done? What needs to be done? “Did you call and follow up on the autopsy report?  We have not recieved it and we should have by now.” This time we have a house full of stuff (and plenty of it, they both loved to “collect”) where no one will continue to live. What do we do with it? Who will handle it? All I could think of was “how do people manage all this when they don’t have five strong, able-bodied, hardworking surviving children?” As I like to say, “my parents raised me right!” with my finger up my nose.

I have always been comfortable talking about death. It is, after all, a fact of LIFE and we all experience it. Hence, my blog title “deathandlife”, because when you are the survivor of a death, life does go on. I want to help people with an expanded list I originally created that will be valuable for anyone who has the burden of managing these tasks when it is all you can do to keep your head above water, let alone try to think of everything you need to do (and delegate) to accomplish. Part checklist, part appointment calendar, part inventory, part address book, all you need wrapped up in one book that will be provided (and continually updated due to the speed of technology) to hospices, funeral homes, places of worship and individuals who are in need. This week I am talking to the funeral director who beautifully handled both my parents deaths and will report on my blog his input. He has already said it is a “great idea” and that he has thought about putting one together himself due to the requests he gets for them (he has to say he doesn’t have anything). Everyone I have asked has instantly replied with “I would use it” and “I wish I had one when my mom died”. If one exists, I have not found it, so I am going to fill the void and hope it will be welcome. Peace.

Beaty Editorial Services (my friend Beth Beaty, the editor)
77 E George Street
St. Paul, MN 55107

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6 Responses to new blog and new venture

  1. Amy says:

    Kat- Great idea. It is a gift to your readers, this innovative and generous checklist that you are pursuing, and one that many will use one day soon or one day later. Thank you for doing the legwork for all of us. Perhaps you should add ‘gratitude that the checklist is in existence’ to your list – no, you are too humble, I know, but you are creating a great service to those in need when streamlining energies and time are necessary.

    Love you!!

  2. Laura Meadors Johnson says:

    I think this is both a brave and brilliant idea. Brave in that once you face death it is hard to go back and remember those important details that you need to share and brilliant in the idea this is something so essential for those who do face it. I being a list person myself, really appreciate the effort you are putting into creating this. I know after my father died, I had to figure out many of the military benefits and choices, in addition to all the other stuff. I’m so glad you’re doing this.

  3. Nicki Presby says:

    I think you are amazing and insightful. When my dad died, we were prepared, have 5 siblings strong working on things, but still there were areas we had no clue about. Sadly, like Amy, my family has had it’s fair share of deaths in the past 10 years. If there had been such a book for us to reference, it would have made such a difficult, emotional time so much easier. Congratulations!

  4. Kathleen Helms says:

    Kat, great idea. I’m sorry to hear about what prompted you to do this though. I had no idea.

    My family and I would have benefited from your list back in July 2007. My 37-year-old brother died suddenly of a heart attack while he was out scuba diving. None of my six siblings or parents had a spare key for his car or his condo. Add that to your list please! For someone who is single especially, it’s a good idea to give this to a trusted friend/family member. And, of course, having a will would have helped with my brother. But who thinks they will die at 37? I would like to be better prepared should I go through something so devastating again.

  5. Davis says:

    Kat, this is an AMAZING idea. My dad passed away 5 years ago, and as a list-driven person and a lawyer (who is supposed to *handle* things) I could have used this resource so much. Absolutely wonderful and much-needed. This will be an excellent resource for estate planning attorneys too.

  6. amy kranz says:

    wow! this is so amazing and sooo needed!!! you are such an amazing person for thinking of and creating this!!!! please let me know how i can help as i have (sadly) a lot of experience with death (and life!). xxx amy

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