Ten years ago, when I was 23, I experienced a life-changing event when my father passed away suddenly in his sleep. I am the oldest of three brothers, and we all struggled with the enormity of our loss. Living in Spain at the time, I had to fly to Holland, where my father and brothers resided, to face the situation head-on.
My middle brother, Peter, discovered my dad's body three days after his passing, which was a distressing experience. As we grappled with our grief, we realized how ill-prepared we were for dealing with the practical aspects of death. We had never lost someone close to us, let alone organized a funeral. Desperate for guidance, we searched for a will, contacted insurance and trust companies, but found no answers.
Our saving grace was my brother's partner, a funeral director who offered to help. We gathered at his house, drank beers, cried, laughed, and planned a simple yet meaningful funeral for our father, Peter Senior Hoonings. The ceremony, held on a warm spring afternoon, allowed us to gather one last time to celebrate his life and say our goodbyes.
As next of kin, my brothers and I had to bear the financial burden of the funeral. It was a substantial cost, even with a discount. We were reluctant to turn to online fundraising platforms, as we did not want to impose on others for financial help.
The ordeal left an indelible mark on me, and I became determined to find a better way for people to plan for the inevitable. In my opinion, not leaving a last will and testament or some form of guidance is selfish and causes unnecessary pain to loved ones. It wasn't just losing my dad that hurt; it was the absence of his final words, advice, and expressions of love that left us feeling lost.
As a father myself, I have made it a point to record video messages for my son, filled with encouragement and wisdom. These "mementos" will be there for him in case I pass away unexpectedly. With a baby girl on the way, I will continue this tradition for her as well.
This experience inspired me to create Wills.com, a platform that not only helps people manage their physical assets as required by law but also allows them to leave behind emotional tokens for their loved ones. For me, hearing my father say he was proud of me and loved me one last time would have been far more valuable than inheriting any material possessions.
In conclusion, while you are still alive, you can provide both for your loved ones. You can create a will to ensure that your property goes to the right people, designate a guardian for your children, and record video mementos to help them through the grieving process. Death is inevitable, but we can make things easier for those we leave behind by planning ahead - "Memento Mori."