stages of grief

Dealing with Grief in today's World

Foreword

"Just as death is a certainty, so too is grief. It is a universally shared experience and yet totally unique to each individual. Asking for and finding the right support for each person can be challenging. But it is available" 

Annie Broadbent

Annie Broadbent, author of We Need to Talk About Grief

 

Grief (from thread on a 'Reddit' forum. Contributor unknown)

Greif online

Supporting the Bereaved

Someone you love has recently been bereaved. You desperately want to be there for them, but you don't really know how. It can be a daunting prospect – supporting someone you care about through a time of so much pain, especially as there is currently not a huge amount of support available for the supporters. Finding the right words to comfort your friend, and knowing what you can offer to do is often overwhelming, confusing and sometimes quite frightening. Each person responds differently, and what they need from you will be further influenced by who it is that died, how they died, and what their specific circumstances are. But there are certain things that can help, and other things that might be best avoided.

 

A letter by Barack & Michelle Obama sent to the friends and family of Frankie Knuckles

Talking about Grief

We all experience grief in different ways. This will be influenced by a number of factors such as the type of death, the relationship to the deceased, and the age/culture/support network of the bereaved. Some people may find talking about their experience helpful, others may find it very difficult and it is likely that the bereaved will oscillate between the two. Things such as the Death Café offer a safe and welcoming place to talk about all things death, dying and grief.

Grief online

The internet has changed the way in which we remember and grieve forever. It's important to bear in mind that this can be both supportive and also difficult for some people. There are now a range of online forums for those experiencing grief and various blogs of people's experiences which can be subscribed to.

Social media sites such as Facebook offer an online forum for people to share photos, memories of the deceased and invite people to funerals and memorials.

view social media accounts after death

Data from the Digital Death Survey 2018

Conclusion

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. People may feel anger soon after a loved one dies often turning to sadness later on. Knowing that your emotions may change overtime and that this it common may help the bereaved understand that this is normal.

Further Resources

There are a range of resources and charities that specialise in helping us address and deal with grief. Some of those are listed below.

 


Digital legacy check list

Digital Legacy Checklist

James NorrisOverview

The actions we take, the way we behave and the choices we make in life help to shape the legacy we leave behind in death. These actions are increasingly being carried out and overtly spoken about online. By thinking about our digital legacy and planning for our inevitable departure we are able to highlight certain personally traits and our tell stories for those left behind.

- James Norris, MyWishes founder

 

Digital Legacy Checklist

Below is a basic checklist of things you may want to consider when evaluating your online footprint. By evaluating the points below we hope that it will evoke thought and lead to a proactive outcome.

  • Search for (your name) in Google and see what appears (in search, image search and video search). If there is information or media (such as photos and videos) that you do not want to be remembered for consider removing them.
  • Make sure that you have given directions about what you would like to happen to your online accounts and profiles in your Digital WillDigital legacy check list
  • Tell at least one person where your Digital Will is stored and consider sharing a copy with those you trust.
  • Consider leaving a 'goodbye' message to your friends and family as part of your Ethical Will.
  • Download and backup your media saved on third party social media and online sites. Once downloaded you may want to print and share the photos, videos and files that are of the greatest sentimental and monitory value.
  • If you have a website or blog that you would like to remain live once you have died make sufficient plans, technical resource and budget for this to occur.
  • Understand the terms & conditions of the online platforms and services that you use.
  • Consider how to pass on your passwords and what levels of access you would like others to have.

 

 


My Funeral Wishes document

How to find someone's 'My Funeral Wishes' document

How to find someone's a 'My Funeral Wishes' document

This guide will first help you to understand what different formats 'My Funeral Wishes' documents can be saved as. It will then provide advice as to how to find someone's document if you think they had stated their funeral wishes using MyWishes.

Once a MyWishes user has completed their funeral wishes they are able to:

  1. Download the document locally to the device they are using (PDF)
  2. Email the document to someone they trust (friend, family member, funeral director etc)
  3. Print the document and keep it in a safe place.

Funeral choices app

If you are looking for someone's funeral wishes document a copy may be available

  1. The device they use for logging into MyWishes (saved as a PDF)
  2. With someone they have entrusted with the document (friend, family member, funeral director etc)
  3. Within their email 'Sent' box.
  4. In a safe place where they live (after a copy was printed out).

 

What does a 'My Funeral Wishes' document created using MyWishes look like?

Someone's My Funeral Wishes document might appear in a similar way to that shown below.

My Funeral Wishes document

 

Someone's My Funeral Wishes might be saved as a PDF document on one of the internet enabled devices they use (computer, laptop, work computer, tablet etc). It may also be printed out (normally on A4 paper) and timestamped with the last time it was updated (as shown above).

Further support

If you require any support please feel free to get in touch .

Documenting your own wishes

It is important that we all document our wishes. MyWishes makes the complex and fragmented task of documenting our wishes easy.


My Funeral Playlist

How to collate and share your funeral playlist on MyWishes

What is a funeral playlist

A funeral playlist is a collection of songs and poems that someone would like to be played, sung or spoken at someone’s funeral.

Why should I create a funeral playlist?

If music is an important part of your life you may also place an importance on the the music that is played or sung at your funeral. It takes a couple of minutes to document your funeral playlist on MyWishes and once it has been completed you can share it with your friends an family via email or publically on your social media channels

Creating your own funeral playlist on MyWishes

It is really easy to collate and share your funeral playlist on MyWishes.

  • Register and login and go to the my funeral wishes feature.
  • Click on the 'My Funeral Playlist' section.
  • You will now be able to add Items to your funeral playlist and state whether or not you would like the information to be public or private. If you set items to private they will not display on your unique, public URL. Furthermore items set as private will not show if shared across your social media sites.

 

Funeral songs

 

"You may want to add a song from a band you went to see perform, request a friend to perform a piece on the piano or for a family member to read a poem".

Deciding whether to make your funeral playlist public or private

Your funeral wishes document a private document. Your funeral playlist however will be made public by default. If you would like to use the My Funeral Wishes feature but would like it to be private you will need to change the viability of your MyWishes public URL from 'public' to 'private'. A step by step guide showing you how to do this can be found here

Sharing your funeral playlist

  • PDF download

Once you have completed your funeral playlist it will be added to your 'Funeral Wishes' document and available to download to the device you are using. The document will download as a PDF and can be attached and emailed to friends and family. You may also want to email your funeral wishes directly to chosen funeral director. By sharing your wishes there are more likely to be adhered to.

  • Social media

You may want to share your funeral playlist on your social media accounts. This might help evoke conversations around the songs that you have chosen and your wishes in general.

To register or login to your MyWishes account click here.


What to do if someone close to you is diagnosed with a terminal illness

Hospice UK have published a short video highlighting the two actions that you should follow if someone close to you is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

 

Charities and resources providing further support

There are a range of national and local services able to provide you with advice and support. Some of the main charities able to provide support are listed below. You may also want to find reach out to a charity, hospice or support network close to where you live. You may also find value in speaking with a charity who provides support to the general public around any specific conditions that you may be diagnosed with.

 

 


Bucket list App

How to curate a bucket list on MyWishes

Overview

A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die. The phrases originates from the term "kicked the bucket".

Creating a Bucket List

No matter our age, financial or physical circumstances we can all create a bucket list. This might be a short list of personal activities or elaborate list of goals to help better society. Simply write them down or tell a loved one what's on your list.

Bucket list AppInspiration

Inspiration can take many forms. Your bucket list therefore might be inspired by friends, family and a range of other outside factors. Everyones bucket list is different, the most important thing is to make the things that you want to happen...HAPPEN.

Learning from the 'regrets of the dying' can be a powerful learning tool. This is especially true when contemplating what should be added to a bucket list.

Top 5 regrets of the dying

The top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Bronnie Ware (a Palliative Care Nurse) can be found below.

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

Collating and sharing your bucket list on MyWishes

Collating your bucket list

Login to your free MyWishes account and go to the Bucket List feature. Now click on the "Add New Item To My Bucket List" Button. You will not be able to add the item to your Bucket List and the date that you hope to achieve it by.

Bucket List App

Making your bucket list public

By default MyWishes vanity URLs are set to 'public'. This allows for non-sensitive information to be shared publicly when a user would like to do so. If you account is set to public and you would like to share your Bucket List item publicly tick the box shown when adding your item.

If you do not want the item on your Bucket List to be made public do not tick this box. If you would like to disable your vanity URL and in doing so disabling the ability to share anything onto your public MyWishes page click here.

Publishing your goals and achievements on your social media channels

You can publish the goals that you have set on your bucket list across your social media channels. This may help give you the encouragement you need to achieve them. You can find the social media share icons next to each of the items added to your Bucket List.

Bucket list on social media

Your Bucket List 

Once you have saved your Bucket List you can refer to it and update it as often as you like. If your account is set to public and you also set one or more of your Bucket List items to public they will appear on your public URL and display the date you hope to achieve the goal whether or not you have achieved .

Bucket list App

 

Further resources of inspiration

  • 'The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying' book by Bronnie Ware (further information)
  • The Bucket List film with Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman (IMDB Review)
  • Stephen Sutton's Bucket List - Possibly the most incredible and elaborate buck list of all time can be seen here (Stephen Sutton's website)

MyWishes Privacy

How to make your public MyWishes profile, private!

The documents created on MyWishes are private. Once completed they can be downloaded and shared with those you trust within your friendship group, with family members of professionals (for example your doctor, a solicitor or your appointed funeral director).

MyWishes have however also developed ways for out users to share non-sensitive information on their public MyWishes page. Non-sensitive content may include their bucket list, the songs that they would like to have played at their funeral, small gifts that they have allocated to their loved ones within their Last Will & Testament and 'Goodbye Messages' that are only sent out onto their MyWishes profile after they die. The Goodbye Messaging feature is basically a Victorian Memory box for today's digital age.

How to make your MyWishes public profile private or public

Every MyWishes user has their own vanity URL. This is created when a user registers however the name can be changed at any time in the MyProfile section.

MyWishes vanity URL

Your MyWishes URL has to be set to public if you would like to share information on it. This setting can be altered by clicking on the 'Edit' button and changed private or public.

 

MyWishes Privacy

When a MyWishes URL is set to private the user's public page does not display allow them to share any non-sensitive information on their public profile.

 


Why you need a Digital Will (aka a Socail Medial Will)

Law Society

"People should leave clear instructions about what should happen to their social media, computer games and other online accounts after their death, according to the law society "– The Law Society (UK)

If you have social media profiles set up online, you should create a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled. Just like a traditional will helps your survivors handle your physical belongings, a social media will spells out how you want your online identity to be handled”. – USA Government 

 

Digital Will (Guide)

Both the USA government and the UK Law Society agree that we should make plans for our '=digital assets by writing a digital will. By doing so we can help make our passing easier on those left behind from both emotional and financial reasons.

McAfee released a survey that found global consumers placed an average value of more than $37,000 on their digital assets (the value was even higher in the U.S. at nearly $55,000). The Digital Legacy Association also found that the perceived value society places on their loved one's digital legacy is increasing year on year.

Digital Death Survey - Digital Will

 

Each online service (like Facebook, Amazon, eBay etc) have their own ‘terms of service’ (TOS). The TOS for each platform differs due to the differing services they each provide. It is important for all of us to understand the TOS for each platform that we use and document what our wishes are for each platform.

 

MyWishes free Digital Will platform

We have developed a free Digital Will creation tool. It is simply to use and helps our users document what they would like to happen to each of their accounts.

To use MyWishes free Digital Will feature for free register and we will help you to safeguard your wishes and preferences.

 

What happens if I do not leave a digital will?

Most people have not made plans for their digital estate. If your wishes are not documented photos, videos and other items of sentimental value might be lost. Of you have online only bank accounts, cryptocurrency, business assets, purchased media, a website and other items of a monitory value these may deleted, withheld and not made available to those you care about.

 


Advance Care Plan software

Why you should have an Advance Care Plan

What is an Advance Care Plan

Advance care plans are a set of directions and preferences concerning someone's future care. They are often documented whilst someone is healthy and only take effect when we loses capacity of their body or mind.

 

Why you need an an Advance Care Plan

An 'Advance Care Plan' can help ensure that you are not given treatment that you do not wish to receive. It can also ensure that you receive the type of care you would like to receive in your preferred setting. An Advance Care Plan can also empower a friend or family member to make decisions and act on your behalf if you wish them to.

You can state your wishes in a paper Advance Care Plan. These can be obtained from your doctor, hospital and hospice. Alternatively you can use our free Advance Care Plan tool to document you wishes. Once completed simply download the document (as a PDF), print it or email it to someone you trust.

 

Advance Care Plan software

 

Key principles of Advance Care Planning Process

The process of creating an Advance Care Plan is voluntary. No pressure should be brought to bear by the professional, the family or any organisation on the individual concerned to take part in writing an Advance Care Plan (ACP)

  • An ACP must be a patient centred dialogue over a period of time
  • The process of ACP is a reflection of society’s desire to respect personal autonomy. The content of any discussion should be determined by the individual concerned. The individual may not wish to confront future issues; this should be respected
  • All health and social care staff should be open to any discussion which may be instigated by an individual and know how to respond to their questions
  • Health and social care staff should instigate ACP only if in the context of a professional judgement that leads them to believe it is likely to benefit the care of the individual. The discussion should be introduced sensitively
  • Staff will require the appropriate training to enable them to communicate effectively and to understand the legal and ethical issues involved
  • Staff need to be aware when they have reached the limits of their knowledge and competence and know when and from whom to seek advice
  • Discussion should focus on the views of the individual, although they may wish to invite their carer or another close family member or friend to participate.
  • Some families may have discussed their issues and would welcome an approach to share this discussion
  • Confidentiality should be respected in line with current good practice and professional guidance
  • Health and social care staff should be aware of and give a realistic account of the support, services and choices available in the particular circumstances. This should entail referral to an appropriate colleague or agency when necessary
  • The professional must have adequate knowledge of the benefits, harms and risks associated with treatment to enable the individual to make an informed decision
  • Choice in terms of place of care will influence treatment options, as certain treatments may not be available at home or in a care home, e.g. chemotherapy or intravenous therapy. Individuals may need to be admitted to hospital for symptom management, or may need to be admitted to a hospice or hospital, because support is not available at home
  • ACP requires that the individual has the capacity to understand, discuss options available and agree to what is then planned. Agreement should be documented
  • Should an individual wish to make a decision to refuse treatment (advance decision) they should be guided by a professional with appropriate knowledge and this should be documented according to the requirements of the MCA 2005.

(The Key Principles copy was provided by Dying Matters)

How to document your future care wishes on MyWishes.

Once you have completed your advance care plan you may also want to make plans for your online accounts in a digital will or yourself achievable goals within your own bucket list. To learn more click here.

 

Register for MyWishes


Why you should have a Last Will & Testament

A Will should cover all of your assets be they valuable or not so valuable. And remember it is often the possessions that have little or no monetary value can cause conflict when a loved one dies. It is therefore paramount that all our assets are taken into consideration writing a will.

Why have a Will?

Making a Will is a way of showing that you really care about whoever is left behind and that you have done your best to leave your property and finances in the most thoughtful way possible. Whether or not you leave a Will is going to have a significant impact on how you are remembered - were you someone who took time and care to ensure your loved ones were provided for after your death, or were someone who just left everything to chance and hoped it would all be alright?

Have you written a will

The Digital Death Report 2017 found that nearly two thirds of adults may not have a valid Will. That's two thirds of adults who have decided (or are unaware) that they currently have no say whatsoever in what happens to their hard earned cash and assets after they die.

Last will and testamentWhat happens if you die and have not written a Will?

If you die without a valid Will there the law dictates what happens to your assets. These are called the "Intestacy Rules". If you are lucky the Intestacy Rules will coincide with what you would like to happen anyway. But for many that will not be the case.

Common sense dictates that 18 may not be a good age for a young person to become entitled to a lump-sum of cash. If you make a Will you can specify the age that your children would inherit (say 25 with provision for some money to be advance before that for education and maintenance) and you can appoint guardians to look after your children. There are also plenty of situations where the Intestacy Rules just don't work at all. Cohabiting or unmarried couples are not recognised and neither are step-children. Or what if you have a disabled or vulnerable relative you want to provide for?

By making a Will you help forge a structure to protect your loved ones and help cement a legacy that is legally binding.

So when should I make a Will?

In theory everyone over the age of 18 should write a will. However there are many life events which act like a trigger when thinking about and making a Will. These include:

  • Buying a house
  • Having children
  • Have children
  • Getting married
  • Getting unmarried
  • Inheriting assets
  • Retiring
  • A change in circumstances for an intended beneficiary (eg divorce of bankruptcy)

Areas often overlooked

  • Your Will should remain under review. Revisit it at least every five years or each time a change in circumstance (as shown above) occurs.
  • Making a Will can help with Inheritance Tax Planning in relation to business succession.
  • A Will can enable you to make Charitable Gifts (which can also help reduce the amount of tax paid by your beneficiaries) and set out arrangements for your pets and funeral wishes.

The content above was written by Gary F. Rycroft, a Partner with Joseph A. Jones & Co Solicitors in Lancaster, member of the The Law Society Wills & Equity Committee and Chair of Dying Matters.

 


How to make your Last Will & Testament legally binding in the UK

To make your Last Will & Testament legally binding in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales you will need to have the document signed by yourself and witnessed by two people over the age of 18. The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will, spouses of beneficiaries or members of your family.

You will need to ensure that the witnesses have sufficient eyesight to witness the signing of the document. Please also ensure that they have the mental capacity to understand the importance of task requested. If there are any doubts surrounding the person's eyesight or mental capacity please consider assigning a different witness or obtaining legal advice.

If you have close relatives who you do not want to give anything to your should state why you have made no provisions for them. We recommend that you provide these written reasons on a separate document. A Last Will & Testament can become a public document when it goes to probate. By adding a separate document you may be able to reduce the stress caused from the publication of such content.

To draft your Last Will & Testament for free click here


Welcome to MyWishes learning resources. This hub will help you to better understand how to use MyWishes and make suitable plans for you and your loved ones.

MyWishes end of life University

If you need any support whilst logged into MyWishes visit the 'Feedback' tab and receive support relevant to your account and your settings. If you would like to recommend any tutorials or need further support please do get in touch

Wendy

What is a celebrant?

We recently spoke about end of life planning and MyWishes OKat the annual Celebrants Convention. Whilst there we caught up with Wendy Coulton a fully qualified Civil Funeral Celebrant.

In the video below Wendy Coulton explains what a celebrant is and how a celebrant helps support the recently bereaved when arranging a funeral service.

To document your funeral wishes (for free) and pass them on to you next of kin visit www.MyWishes.co.uk.


Lawrence Darani

How to create an ethical will

What is an ethical will?

 

“Unlike a ‘last will and testament’ disposing of one’s estate or an advanced directive for health care decisions, an ethical will is not legally binding. Rather, a good ethical will transmits values, life lessons, family history, and other experiences to those left behind when the author dies. One pictures a written version of those few choice words of wisdom spoken by a family elder on his/her deathbed. While the legal will deals with material goods, the ethical will is meant to pass on the non-material goods and family traditions of equal or greater importance”. - Ethical Wills by Barry K Baines, 2002

Ethical Will's can be passed down in many different ways and formats. The ethical will tutorials below are articulated through video as it was Lawrence Darani's chosen medium. This is because of the poignant nature of seeing someone on film and being able to communicate directly to the viewer.

 

Lawrence Darani (1951-2014)

The MyWishes team were introduced to 'ethical wills' by Lawrence Darani. Lawrence became both someone we supported and a mentor. Before Lawrence died he created a number of ethical will tutorials for those interested in him and his thinking. He hoped that these would serve as guidelines for MyWishes users interested in creating their own ethical will.

 

Lawrence Darani

Creating your Ethical Will(s)

An ethical will can be passed down in many forms. The videos below each have a specific purpose and subject matter to address. Lawrence was inspired by Irvin D. Yalom's book 'Staring At The Sun: Being at peace with your own mortality: Overcoming the Terror of Death'.  We are honoured that both Lawrence and his family have allowed us to show them. In doing so, Lawrence is still educating and teaching despite no longer being with us. His legacy as a existentialist, teacher and forward thinker truly does, 'live on'.

 

Creating your first video

The video below provides a great overview about the person Lawrence was and the values he lived his life by. We hope that you find this as inspiring as we do.

 

The formative events of my life

The formative events of my life is a video that highlights events in Lawrence's life that had a profound influence on him.

 

 

There are no rules regarding what message or messages you should leave after your death. It should however be true to the person you are and take into consideration to feelings of those who will watch it.

 

 If you would like to use MyWishes for free to help develop your own ethical will click here to get started.