Archive for Life insurance

If I Died Today — My Music – Song #1

Posted in Children, Death, Eulogy, Family, Funeral, Grief, Inspiration, Insurance, Legacy, Life, Loss, Love, Memorialization, Mourning, Music, Nature, Planning Ahead, Pre-planning a service, Relationships, Remembrance, Tradition, Video Clips with tags , , , on August 2, 2014 by Morguie



<<This post is part of my series, ‘IF I DIED TODAY.’ Posts in the series are presented with the hope that we can prepare ourselves for our own eventual end-of-life issues before the end comes; so that we may have peace of mind for ourselves and our loved ones may be undistracted by our personal worries. Let’s be allowed to enjoy the final days together, to the fullest.


Such preparation now frees us in many ways, from the very anxiety death creates in us.  Let’s start the conversation and quell our fear.>>







Some may wonder if I have a preoccupation with my own demise… in short, I do.  I realize this topic of preparing for death, any death, is taboo to a great many.  And, it seems so clichè to say ‘death is a natural part of the life cycle’ — but it is.


Over the past month or two, several (at least 6) of our friends / family have passed away — which makes death a frequent target of rumination, for me personally. Our share of losses has been extraordinarily high in number and in some cases, shocking in the unexpected suddenness.  


When I was in mortuary college, one of the assignments in the funeral arrangements class required each student to draft an arrangement of their own funeral.

Image credit: funeral directors Johnny Moller and Debra Ott Moller with the following message: My new wife and I are both funeral directors in Des Moines, Ia and these were our bar napkins at our wedding in June. - See more at:

Image credit: funeral directors Johnny Moller and Debra Ott Moller with the following message:
My new wife and I are both funeral directors in Des Moines, Ia and these were our bar napkins at our wedding in June.
– See more at:



It was all hypothetical, of course, because funeral directors don’t actually die. Just like doctors don’t get sick and dentists don’t get toothaches…

So I went a little “exotic” and made my service a wilderness-themed affair…this is due to my love of the outdoors and fond childhood memories of summers spent in the Big Sky country of Montana, fishing in the glacial streams, etc. I wanted to be buried inside my Dodge Ram pickup truck – no need to get a box for me (spankin’ new at the time…with all the bells and whistles…a real sweet set of wheels I was crazy proud of), my body positioned in driver’s seat...interred at a place near the Beaverhead  or Big Hole Rivers.  I know…I am a bit of an odd duck. But, it was a ‘fantasy’ funeral, so I went with the whimsy of it and made it as colorful and extreme as I could. It would be the stuff that legends and folklore were made of. EPIC. I had a ball imagining the logistical nightmare my fantasy funeral and burial might create…those engineers were going to have fun digging the hole in that tough, rocky, rugged timberline! I was going to be a royal pain in the ass all the way to the end!   Alas, it was all purely fictional. Nobody in class had come up with anything  remotely as brazen or bizarre as my plan. Ha!

1995 Dodge Ram 1500 Pickup - April 2, 2011





HOWEVER, it wouldn’t be impossible to do. I would simply make the inquiries and get an idea of the money and permissions it would require and get the hard part taken care of well before-hand, as is proper and rightly my responsibility to handle…


Speaking of which…there really isn’t any excuse to leave the financial burden on your family if you plan well. That’s the reason they make life insurance policies…buy one that will cover the bases of your death expenses and any debt you’ll probably leave…more units if you have a dependent family to cover. The coverage can be adjusted after children grow up, etc.  The emergency of an unexpected death may arise anytime. Death is something we all must accept; we’d be wise to get these details taken care of as early in our adulthood as possible…it is the biggest gift to your loved ones you can give. SECURITY.   *** Also, for new babies (children or your grandkids) buying a policy may be a very wise fiscal decision which may give them available cash for college later. Those Gerber Grow Up Plan policies are very affordable, too. *** 


That is the whole point of celebrating a life…customizing a memorial service that uniquely befits  and reflects the person’s way of  life. It should be meaningful!










Cartoon of the worst possible thing to say at ...

Cartoon of the worst possible thing to say at a funeral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I cannot help but laugh now at the idea of myself, riding down in my pretty truck…half-figuring I might be headed out on the Highway To Hell…considering that I typically drove like a bat out of hell…yippee- ki-yi-yay!

Back then, it would have been an ideal tribute to the way I lived my life and the adventurous, ‘fearless’  hot mess  I was.  I have tamed down quite a bit from those heady, wild-child times, regrettably. Downright mundane, now.


Since my life has evolved and changed over time, I tend to be more realistic now when it comes to making any preferences and instructions for the handling of my own funeral. The tribute made in my honor is meant to comfort those I leave behind…it really isn’t mine to enjoy, so they ought to opt to do  as they wish, and I’ll ensure that the funding is provided via those life insurance benefits I have in place. It still doesn’t mean any of it should be boring, sad, or lackluster! I want a GOOD good-bye…there were too many struggles and hard times in my life,  I really expect to get off to a positive start in death, if you please!


Services are made up of various components — readings of religious or spiritual passages, eulogies, rites, music — are some common elements.


Anybody who knows me well, as my daughters do, knows music has been a real passion of mine. From the time my girls were very small, they’ve been acutely aware of my love for singing to the radio or to the songs in my vast array of tapes and CD‘s amassed over the years. Once, while we were on a day-trip, one of them exclaimed, “Mommy must know the words to a thousand songs!”   Actually…probably more like a couple thousand, I figure. Music  has always been a life force with me; it would be odd if it weren’t part of the end of my life, as well.  


I have a compilation of my favorite tunes recorded to a CD for just this occasion! I keep it where my self-written obituary and policies and stuff are safely put away. Of course.


Today I’ve decided to share one of my ‘designated’ songs that might be played; my way to send a heartfelt message to the folks I loved. I felt the sentiment in the lyrics were spot-on,  explaining my hoped-for legacy to leave behind…




I hope you enjoy Miss LeeAnn Womack‘s pretty song  “Something Worth Leaving Behind.”  (By the way, I selected some upbeat music, too, which I will share in future posts of this series)











Do YOU have any favorite songs which speak to the way you feel about how you’ve lived life or the personal legacy you hope to leave behind?


©2014,Colleen S. Thompson.



Morguie Chats With C J : What Does It All Mean?

Posted in American Military, bereavement, Cemetery, Death, Embalming Room, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Government Shutdown, Grief, Life, Losing A Parent, Loss, Mortuary, Mourning, Soldiers, Thanatology, Thought For Today, Tragic death, Veterans, WAR, WWII with tags , on October 9, 2013 by Morguie


Death knows no holiday, the old saying goes, but tonight it managed to take a few hours off…and so on this late evening, C J finds herself downstairs in the old mortuary, scrubbing away her anger and outrage…the day’s news is just too much to bear. The mouse cannot sleep, either. Of course, he’s a comfort to C J in times of worry and upset. He pops through the opening in the baseboard, and skitters out onto the tiled floor, where C J has pulled away the prep-room tables and is applying great pressure to the scrub-brush over the ceramic and grout…

Morguie: “Hey…you are going to scrub the color right off of that tile if you keep going, you know…”

C J: “Yeah, I guess so…I know, let’s take a break…”


She and the mouse went outside, and sat on the steps. C J took out a cigarette, lit it, and looked up at the blackness of the heavens. A sliver of the moon barely visible amongst the passing clouds, she noted an autumn chill in the night air. It was definitely October.

Morguie: “C J? Why is the government messing with people? Like the dead soldiers’ families?”

Coming_home_s640x427C J: “ Mouse, if I knew the real reason I sure as hell wouldn’t be down here scrubbing an already cleaned floor…”

Morguie: “I heard that the President and Congress weren’t going to pay those families of the troops killed in action their death benefits…is that really true?”

C J: “Yes, Mouse, I am afraid it is true.”

Morguie: “Well, gosh, how much IS a death benefit if you are killed in action?”

C J: “It’s only $100,000.00 Mouse.”

Morguie’s eyes widened…that would buy a LOT of crackers…”Wow! That’s A LOT!”


C J’s face darkened. She stopped before she could unleash her true wrath upon the rodent. He was, after all, just an animal. He couldn’t possibly know what $100,000.00 meant in this situation. So she took in a long draw off the cigarette and crushed it out,  while mentally putting together what she wanted to tell the mouse about the money…

C J: “Morguie? The benefits include $100,000 to each family; a 12-month basic allowance for housing, usually given in a lump sum to survivors commensurate with the rank of the service member; and burial benefits.


Let me see if I can say it in an even more understandable way for you, Mouse. Let’s say that there is a family named Jones. Mr. Jones is actually an Army Sgt. He has a wife and two little kids and one on the way.  Sgt. Jones is sent overseas to fight the war in Afghanistan and has to leave Mrs. Jones and the kids over here. “

Morguie: “Wow. That must be really hard for them to be without their dad…and Mrs. Jones is going to have a baby? Yikes!”

C J: “Well, Mousie, this is just a story…I made up the Jones family here…”

Morguie: “I know. But, I think I get it, kind of…that this government thing is happening to real people in real families just like them…”

C J: “ But Mouse, you said a few minutes ago about what a bunch of money you thought that ‘death benefit’ was…I want to just say this:  Let’s say Sgt. Jones is on a combat mission and is killed in action. The U.S. government sends his family what basically amounts to a life insurance policy settlement. It’s something…

$100,000.00 is NOTHING when you realize that Sgt. Jones will never be able to walk through the door of his home and into his loving family’s arms again;

it’s NOTHING when you realize that Sgt. Jones’ unborn baby will never know him;

it’s NOTHING when you realize Sgt. Jones’ children will have to grow up, learn to drive, walk down the aisle, or have their own children WITHOUT HIM to share those special moments in life with them;


  And that money could never hold his wife close, dry her tears, or tell her that everything will work out fine…”

Morguie: “So, what’s it all about?”


C J: “It is supposed to be aid to our precious fallen soldiers’ families, to help them with the everyday, all-the-time life-still-goes-on worries…so that they may take the time they need to grieve their irreplaceable, priceless, precious loved one…one who stood up to defend ALL OF US, and gave up his own life in doing so. “

Morguie: “You’re right. $100,000.00 is nothing at all.”

English: Chart summarizing data about U.S. tro...

English: Chart summarizing data about U.S. troops that were troops killed in action, died of wounds or accidents during the Iraq war by month during the till date period. Category:Iraq War casualties (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

©2013, C.S. Thompson.

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