People – talk to your loved ones, particularly your life partner, about death.
We generally avoided it because it was too morbid a topic and made us cry. But I’m advising you from my current perspective – just once, sit down and talk things through, particularly think through what the person who’s left will have to deal with and will feel. If nothing happens to either of you then all to the good. But if the worst does happen, it will be so valuable to have had some idea what the other person would have wanted, and their comments while they were alive could be so useful and comforting to their partner down the line.
– Do you want to be buried or cremated?
– What would you want to happen to your ashes?
– Where would you want to be buried?
– How do you feel about reclaimed graves?
– Would you want your spouse to eventually be buried with you?
– What words might you want or not want on your gravestone?
– How would you feel standing by your partner’s grave and thinking about what was there?
– How will it make you feel to know the grave will have to be disturbed for you to be buried there also?
– Which of your friends might you expect your partner to stay in contact with?
– What things would you never want told or said to your remaining family and friends?
– How would you feel about your partner having to go through all your things after your death?
– Are there things you particularly wouldn’t want them to see or find?
– Do you have special requests about how some things should be treated? (Eg please don’t bother to go through all those boxes there when I die, you can just throw them all out. Or, whatever you do, please don’t show those old photos to so-and-so.)
– What would you say to your partner if you could speak to them six months after your death, as they walked alone through the cemetery?
– How would you feel about your partner moving out of your house/leaving their job/finding someone new?
– What words could you say now, to help your partner after you have gone – maybe to stop them thinking of suicide or getting deeply depressed?
Say these things to each other, just once, so you are prepared.