Harvey was a man of few words.
But he never failed to take care of his wife, Charlene – even after he was gone.
The couple had never really had the discussion about the end-of-life questions that face us all: Wishes and preferences in the way of funeral and burial arrangements.
That is until October, when Harvey suddenly insisted that he and Charlene attend a seminar on the benefits of preplanning a funeral.
Attending Dupaco Community Credit Union's Breakfast Bites seminar turned out to be one of Harvey's last – and perhaps greatest – acts of taking care of his wife. Harvey, who seemed the embodiment of good health, died of a heart attack less than two months later.
But before he passed away, this man of few words had lifted a burden off of his surviving wife and children, relaying his post-life wishes through a prearranged funeral plan.
"He always made sure I was taken care of," Charlene said. "And now he was making sure I was taken care of after he was gone. What he did for us was a very nice gift."
Creating a funeral plan in advance of your passing can save your loved ones money and anxiety, and provide peace of mind during a very difficult time. It's an opportunity to record specific instructions and wishes, providing loved ones with a clearer picture of how you want to be remembered.
Charlene now believes her husband knew that his health was deteriorating – prompting him to take a day off work to attend Dupaco's seminar and, for the first time, tie up loose ends before making one of their many trips to Albuquerque, N.M.
Harvey died three days after the couple returned from Albuquerque. His death came as a shock to those who knew him. He looked healthy, biked regularly and had even shed 15 pounds recently. For Charlene, there was a silver lining: Attending Dupaco's seminar, she said, made it easier to face those major end-of-life decisions during a time of shock.
Charlene hopes that her experience will prompt others young and old to start the dialogue about last wishes with their loved ones.
"It's never too soon to make these plans," she said. "You never know when the last day is here."
Charlene is paying her husband's gift forward. She has since shared her end-of-life wishes with her children.
"I wanted to make it easier for them, too," she said.
By Emily Kittle