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All About Seniors: Stress free at the finish line

By BILL MILBY

I rebooted my quiet time Bible reading at the start of the New Year with a YouVersion Smartphone reading app called “THE BIBLE in a year”.  This means I should finish reading the Bible through again on December 31st.  It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to choose different translations of the Bible and to read it yourself or have it read to you; great for some seniors with poor eyesight. This morning I was reading in Genesis 49 and 50 about Jacob’s death at the ripe old age of 147 (if my math is right). His last words to his sons were “Bury me with my father and my grandfather”, (Isaac and Abraham)……in Canaan…..”
In other words, Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel by God, pre-planned his own funeral; he instructed his sons where and with whom he wanted to be buried. And that was no small request for his sons to fulfill since they were all living in Egypt and Jacob asked to be transported (presumably by oxcart) back to Canaan (now Israel) to be buried. His son, Joseph, the Prime Minister of Egypt, took charge, had him embalmed, for which the Egyptians were famous, and the Egyptian people mourned his death for seventy days even though he was a Jew. Then Jacob’s sons honored their father by transporting him back to Canaan where they buried him as he had requested.
If you pay attention, the Bible has a lot to say about genealogy, death, and burial; I don’t know of any incidence of cremation recorded in the Bible, with the possible exception of the ravages of war. Death, burial and mourning were very intentional.
As I pondered that this morning I became convicted that I haven’t honored my own parents through the years as I should have. Oh, yes, we had traditional funeral and burial services for them both but I haven’t been as attentive to visiting their burial sites and placing flowers   there to honor them as  I should have; and, as they modeled for us when we were kids by honoring their parents and family members with regular visits to the cemetery with flowers on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.
So I immediately pulled out my calendar and scheduled a short memorial at my parents’ monument for mom’s birthday in February. I put it on my kids’ calendars too (with my Smartphone)……how did we ever get by before we had these things? Hopefully they’ll join me.
One of the things we can do for ourselves and kids to insure a “Stress free finish line” is to do some pre planning of our own funeral and those of our spouses to spare them those difficult decisions in what is typically a very stressful and emotional time. I found a helpful website at: www.funeralwise.com where you will find a very easy-to-use, free pre-planning tool and cost estimator. I may get bombarded with some funeral service e-mail ads for awhile but I’ll unsubscribe when they come. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind I’ll provide to my survivors when the time comes for me to hang it up for good. Don’t forget, we still have a 100% mortality rate in this life so we might as well do a good job right up to the finish line!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com or search for us at www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsMacon.