According to a study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry, occurence of sudden death of a loved one results to extreme stress and is linked to triggering later onset of major depression, panic disorder, PTSD, substance abuse among other mental conditions.

As though the pain of losing a spouse is not enough, many bereaved families unfortunately find themselves also having to deal with a series of subsequent stressful events: financial burdens; a lifestyle switch; social adjustment; the pressures of inheritance feuds among others. It’s like rubbing salt on wounds. So why not prepare early to spare your beloved potential elevated stress levels after your departure?

4 precious gift from my fathers

I vividly recall losing my dad at only 16. It was devastating, as it was shocking. Clearly, we had not seen it coming and that’s the harsh reality of death. With our friend, mentor and sole breadwinner gone, how were we -my three younger siblings then aged 10, 6 and 4, my stay-at-home mom and I, going to survive? We battled with so many such questions. Who would fit in his shoes and be the father figure we needed for emotional, social and financial support? Did we have to brace ourselves for extremely tough times ahead? Well not quite. See, my old man had our backs. In his lifetime, he had prepared for our continued smooth sailing should he ever go untimely before us.

A close knit family

Our uncles, aunts and grandparents were our support system. They were a great source of comfort. We received nothing short of unconditional love, social and emotional support. Growing up, dad had made it his top priority to build a strong relationship between us and them. We never missed family gatherings. We always visited them as they did us, developing a genuinely tight bond.

If you burnt bridges with your kin, make amends. Life is too short to hold grudges. They might be the father or mother figure in your children’s lives. Love and treat your relatives well. Strengthen ties. Allow them mingle and build a rapport with your children and spouse. No one can truly replace you, but your family will feel better knowing there’s a whole lot of people who still love and care about them and that they can look and open up to.

We were covered

We received a lumpsum payment from dad’s life assurance company and it couldn’t have come at a better time when overdue bills and unpaid mortgage warning letters were already piling up the mail box. Our basic needs continued being met long after he was gone. We remained comfortable.

Life assurance is vital in maintaining financial stability after your departure especially for a young family. Without it, the family is at risk of being thrown off balance as they struggle to make ends meet. Furthermore, a sudden lifestyle change could have detrimental psychological effects.

Last will and testament

An article Why you should get around to drawing a will published by the NewYork Times quotes the US adult population without a will to be slightly above 50%. If you have been procrastinating drawing or updating your will, now is the time to do it. Inheritance wrangles as commonly seen with complex family structures such as blended families, extended families or families with children from multiple partners are real. They turn ugly and are emotionally draining. You want to safeguard the interests of your loved ones and shield them from the drama of squabbling for your estates at the time when they are grieving and barely have strength to fight back. When everything is clearly laid out on the table in your final will and testament, it fosters peaceful settlement of your assets.

A lifetime of memories

He made with us so many fond memories to last a lifetime: at dinner; at breakfast; while driving to school; on holiday vacations; at the movies. It is such memories that made us smile, laugh and kept us going. His words of encouragement and advice continue shaping our life decisions 15 years later. He is still alive in us today because he took lots of time out of his busy schedule for family.

Get up from behind that computer, put your phone away, go on a road trip, spend the weekend together, play with your children, talk, dine, act silly and laugh it out. If you don’t, once you die, you will not only be physically dead to them, but also in spirit, because your loved ones will have no memories of you to cherish.

Death is not only inevitable, it can also catch you by surprise. Start preparing for a smoother transition for your loved ones and a faster healing process devoid of everyday worries should you get plucked unexpectedly from the garden.