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A Necessary Book for Anyone Who'll Need to Take Charge After the Death of a Loved One
on February 24, 2014
I've been fortunate to not yet face the death of a close family member. However, I've attended many funerals and have watched with sympathy and amazement at how mourning spouses and adult children are somehow able to take on the duties of planning and hosting a complicated, costly and logistically challenging multi-venue social event, which is what wakes, funerals, burials and other traditions of death often become. In addition to performing the work of an event planner, a surviving family member is also called upon to become a professional organizer, family therapist and — too often — forensic accountant.
Sally Balch Hurme's "Checklist for Family Survivors" is an essential book to own if you think you'll ever be called upon to manage all that happens as soon as a loved one dies and, as importantly, be responsible for the details of the aftermath, which is when the deceased person's finances and possessions need to be sorted through, distributed or somehow resolved.
Ideally, Hurme's book should be purchased and at least skimmed before actually needing to use it. That's my plan. I have the "Checklist for Family Survivors" and will try to remember where on my bookshelf I'm keeping it so, when or if the time comes, I can use and refer to the book and its checklists as needed.
The "Checklist for Family Survivors" would be a very useful gift for a friend or relative who is dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one, or has just experienced a loss. Such a blunt present may require some advance conversation. A possible icebreaker: "I see how you're having to handle so much due to NAME's illness/death. I know a great book that could be of help. May I give you a copy?"