Our lives are patchworks of experiences and people. Family, friends, lovers, partners, work colleagues, acquaintances and strangers are woven deeply into our memories. Over time, we stitch them together into patterns, confident that they will last forever. Of course, this is rarely the case and, ultimately, we must face the fact that dealing with loss is an inevitable part of life.
We have all sat around the dinner table countless times, talking with our families about every topic under the sun – politics, people, shopping, work, movies, books, and our plans for next year’s holiday.
Have you ever thought about your digital afterlife? You should! Most of us check in with Facebook every day to see what our friends and family are doing, watch funny videos and see the day’s news.
Are you prepared for your digital afterlife? It’s a more important question than you might think. End of life planning used to be all about “things”. The most important decisions that we needed to make were how to organize our funeral, what to do with our assets and how to prevent legal issues after our passing.
Today, much of our life is spent online and, as a result, some of our most important assets are digital. Our photos are digital, our social connections are maintained through Facebook and our email accounts maintain a written record of our lives “in the cloud”. So, this raises an important question: what happens to our online “self” after we die?
Women over 60 are enjoying life to the full. So, it’s no surprise that end of life planning is the last thing on our minds. When we do think about death, our concerns tend to be for the family and friends that we would leave behind.
We all have small rituals that give meaning to our lives. We do things in a certain order and follow set patterns of behaviour. If you get up, shower, eat breakfast and brush your teeth in the same order every day; that is a ritual. If you light a candle when you meditate or pray, you are engaging in ritual behaviour.
All of us need to learn how to deal with grief at some point in our lives. Some people, like myself, lose someone close to them as children. Others lose their husband after decades of being happily married. Nothing can prepare you for losing someone you love, but, there are ways to help the healing process along.
After palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware wrote an online article highlighting the top five regrets of the dying, people all over the internet began cataloguing their own aspirations and wishes. Ware listed the top 5 regrets of her patients as follows: