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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Getting your house in order

Give your family precious hours to spend with you when death nears

My most precious memories from the week before my father died are reading the Psalms to him, sitting at night by his bedside. I could have spent even more time with him — but I couldn't make that decision. My father made it for me by putting off "getting his house in order."

During the days of that last week, I spent all my hours making necessary and important arrangements for his care. I could have spent that time with him. But my father didn't make a living will to give health-care directives. He had misplaced his legal will. And he didn't have all his financial papers in one place. He also left no instructions for his funeral.

So during the day my mother and I spent our time taking care of those items. I would trade anything to have had a few of those hours with my father.

Now, when you have the time, use it to make these four necessary arrangements. Then your children can spend their time with you when you — and they — most need it.


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