Living Life, & Death, Online

By: Sarah Reid Hedberg
Friday, August 24, 2018

It's nice to have a real person on the other end of the phone when you have a question. It's great to sit down with an expert when searching Google has left us confused. But to HAVE to speak to a person when we are used to texting or clicking our way to results is, to be honest, frustrating and not my life anymore.

My personal turning point came when enrolling our children in an RESP, a savings account for our children's post-secondary education. My online bank does not offer them. To set one up, I had to make an appointment and my husband had to come too. I arranged for a babysitter and he took time off work. We met at a well-established bank and met a manager a little younger than us in his office. We sat down. And talked. For almost two hours.

The bank manager was used to this. He was interested in us, and patient. He was lovely. But I wasn't. As he asked us about us, as the computer glitched and we repeated our information, as he told us about his family, I felt like screaming. I hadn't had a babysitter for months. I hadn't had time to chat with my friends at this pace in. . . forever. My husband and I had hardly been on a date night in. . . .'Can you hurry this up!' That was said in my head--barely.  Online, I could have opened five bank accounts in that time. And changed diapers, cleaned the kitchen floor, and called the dog in from the neighbour's. Multi-tasking is me.

My life has slowed down a little now that I work outside the house at James Reid Funeral Home. I get paid breaks, with adults only! In my work with bereaved people, I must take time to listen. I really enjoy this active listening in fact, as I believe in it. Death slows us all down. It is actually more helpful, even more efficient, to slow down with it, if a whole and healthy life is your goal. If a kind society is your dream, take your hat off as a funeral drives by.  Wait on the feelings of a friend who is bereaved. These are the times to be single-focused.

Planning what will happen to you or a loved one at death definitely deserves our time. Our funeral directors believe in connecting with families in person. Their empathy and suggestions are very helpful. The Internet is also a great tool that can help plan a funeral, in conjunction with real people. Online, we can input our S.I.N., our mother's birth place, and whether we have a will or not, all while the spaghetti cooks. As we consider where our cremated remains might go, we can be interrupted by an adult child's phone call, by breaking news, by our own penchant for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Our planning for something as "other" as death can be part of our everyday life. Online, we can plan our final trip, in a manner of speaking, much as we'd plan a vacation. We fill in the required fields. We consult our family and friends who will be affected by our trip. We dream of what we'd like to do, what it will feel like, who will be there. We hit 'send', and we have thus started the decision-making process that will be most helpful and efficient at the time of our death.
To simplify this process, we have a 'Start Here' tab. It will take you to an online form that will do just what I've described: cut down on your time in an office and allow you to include your planning into the rest of your life. We'll be happy to meet with you if you prefer!


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