The beginning is always the same, no matter one is prepared or not, the beginning of widowhood begins with the loss of your partner, your mate and companion. Whether it is your long time love or near to divorce partner in marriage, it is the loss that happens first. Death does not ask when you want or need your last words with your partner, it just comes and takes this person away – permanently. Facing the loss of this one special relationship is a shock to the system, no matter if you are preparing for the eventual departure of them or not. So take some time, take a deep breath, and pray. Prayer and meditation always help to keep you focused and other centered, so take some time and concentrate on getting through the moments ahead. You will be glad that you did.
First there is the busy week of the funeral and all the company, well wishers as well as the just curious. My experience was as wonderful as something like this could be in that I was surrounded by people who loved my husband and were here because of that love and respect. He was a good man and deserved every praise and adulation that came during that time. My support system remains in place and I lean on them when needed. Do ask for help, you will need it.
So if you have had things in place for the funeral services all the better. In my case we had plots and headstone in place for years. I thought it was a little out of the ordinary in 1989 to have such a thing done but it was nice when the eventuality came to put them to use. There was no worry of where he would be laid to rest because that was already waiting for our arrival. Those choices are personal and the funeral director will help you make those decisions. There is a tendency for one to want the grandest of all tombstones and to put every thought and saying on the headstone but simple selections can be made now and embellishment can occur later so don’t thing that you have to have more than simply name, birth and death dates. If you want more it can be added later. Some funeral homes have services such as decorating services where you can have flowers placed so many times a year etc. That is entirely a personal choice. You can decide that at another time as well. The fact that we pre-planed the location and had a headstone in place made the process at the funeral home much quicker and easier in that I only had to select the casket, programs and give basic information. Take someone that you trust with you to the funeral home to make your choices based on logical and not totally emotional needs. We selected a nice casket in a reasonable price range with a good vault that serves the purpose for which it was intended. You also select the liner of the casket and this too can be personalized. My husband was a retired Air Force officer so I made some things personalized to that end. In the end the most expensive copper vault is not going to perform any differently than the more moderately priced one that will protect the casket well in the ground. We were fortunate to have paid up insurance policies that allowed some freedom of choice. We picked out flowers of his favorite color and variety for the spray and programs that were befitting of his rank. The process was surprisingly smoother than I had anticipated. When it comes to the obituary it is often that one has amnesia when writing about the loved and lost. That is one thing that I wish that we had prepared ahead. In our case my husband had a terminal illness so we had time to write it ahead of time but did not. I think that we felt it would be to final. He did tell me where to get all of his military information and that was easy but there may have been changes that I would have made to the obituary, given the time to think more clearly. So if you are involved with a terminal case or not it is a good thing to consider giving recognition to the fact that we are all leaving this life at some point, so write that obit ahead of time and store it. Sometime a the end of life, it will get published.