Life and Death With Grace
Your final act is not dying. It is the impact you have on those you leave behind. Those who have to manage the process of your death.
According to a recent YouGov survey, the majority of us leave this up to chance. We keep thoughts of our demise at a distance, but probably hope everything will ‘be just fine’. Yet I am confident that we all have contemplated our death and how we might be remembered. I’m equally confident that, for most of us, admin tasks didn’t play a large part of that vision.
This isn’t surprising. Death is an inherent part of our design and yet not really designed for or discussed within our culture and society. This is an odd thought when you acknowledge that it is going to happen to each of us.
Sadly, due to this lack of consideration in the current systems we have in place, the main impact beyond emotional loss is the pain of dealing with admin tasks, shrouded in mystery. Navigating the different groups, forms, check boxes and the myriad barriers they currently hold, looking for information with virtually no clues.
Try this: Who is your parents mortgage with? Do you know? If you have never asked your parents this, or they had never told you, how would you answer this without confusion? How long would it take you? If your parents had never put in place the right protocol, would their mortgage provider be willing to talk to you?
Where does your nearest and dearest store their passwords?
What would your partner want in terms of a memorial service, if any?
Which cupboard in the office contains the paperwork for your sibling’s pension scheme?
These relatively easy questions can become far harder to answer once that person is no longer there to ask. With the right awareness and planning we can improve the lives of us all, before and after we’re gone. For ourselves, knowing that our loved ones know precisely what to do once we go, and for those we love knowing everything they may need.
With modern technology we are all connected more than ever, yet such key aspects of our lives are still only known to us individually. At such a pivotal point in the history and future of humanity, where the need for positive change is greater than ever, how do we ensure that we build in a deep respect for death and loss?
I put forward that how we deal with the hardest parts of life and co-existence set the tone for how civilised we might consider ourselves and our society. So, if we were to envision a society where these moments were fully transparent, appreciated for what they are and managed with the utmost care, what would that look like as a whole?
That question is at the core of our work With Grace, to examine and redefine how we manage death and we ensure that living with care, even at the end, is part of the legacy we all can choose to leave.
Although it may seem awkward, for a moment, imagine seeing your loved one struggling to answer an important question about your life admin, that could be solved simply with a few words from you.
Imagine them grieving for you but also searching through hundreds of desktop folders to find a password for your email. Within 4 words you could help them…but you’re no longer there.
That piece of information, unique to you, is fundamentally life-changing for them at that moment. Ironically, it is information that you likely take for granted today.
Unless you tell them or leave a set of instructions in some form of digital map, the risk of an even harder experience for them is high. The importance of communicating key information cannot be overstated and empowering that simple act in a streamlined and secure way is our first port of call.
The first step toward targeted transparency and the future of handover protocols at a personal, financial and societal level, is about rethinking the governance of legacy, ownership and transition.
We look forward to being on this journey with you, and our services being a part of yours.
With love, from Tevi, With Grace.