Organised – when the inevitable happens

Having spoken to people having suffered loss, worked with clients left behind and thought about own experiences – these are some of the subject well worth considering:


Before the inevitable

What are you leaving behind and what to do when you are left to pick up the pieces?

What are you leaving behind and what to do when you are left to pick up the pieces?



  • If you feel you know something ‘in your bones’ – act on it. If not it could be too late.
  • Spare those you leave behind worrying by sharing your wishes surrounding your death.
  • List your wishes and make sure it’s known where to find the list. Include final resting place/favourite flowers/hymns/songs/poems, who are to inherit and promises made.
  • Include in the papers details of finances, internet details, social media passwords etc.
  • Keep precious metals and stones from bijoux jewellery easing the sharing after you are gone.



The service

  • Make sure the funeral service includes everyone left behind and all who felt the loss or respect enough to come to the service. It can be done in a sentence, and the hurt from failing to do so, can be quite considerable.
  • Let someone steward the wake to make sure the nearest and dearest all have a seat at the heart of the family over people who hardly knew the family.


Sharing belongings

  • Ask family, friends and visitors to see if there are wishes for particular keep sakes. It could mean the world to them and little to you, in terms of value, relations and honouring the memory of the deceased.
  • If at all possible – have everyone who are to inherit together and gather items under headlines and sub-headlines, i.e. ‘Accessories’ with sub-headlines such as ‘vases’, sculptures, curtains etc., ‘Furniture’ into ‘lamps’, ‘tables’ etc., ‘Jewellery’ into ‘rings’, ‘necklaces’ etc. It prevents ‘greed panic’ (yes it happens) and overwhelm, as each small grouping is followed by many more ‘chances’ to obtain something for everyone.
  • Never make assumptions of what is of value and what defines ‘value’ to another. One person’s junk can be another’s symbol of love and affection.
  • Make a box for items which needs to be scanned for everyone to receive a copy, valued, handed back to rightful owner etc.
  • Sort that box before the content gets damaged or lost in someone’s attic.


Other notes

  • If items are to be valued, suggest hiring a professional and that everyone can bring other items to be valued at the same event. Makes it more cost effective and often times fun as for many they’ve never experienced this before. You could also find your tat is actually a gem.
  • If a widow or widower is downsizing, it’s important to consider the downsized items as items of in heritage. A lot of pain can be avoided if the feeling of loss and wishes of those left behind are given consideration and respect.
  • Include in ‘family’ those who are family by action as much as those by blood. Many have had great people stepping up and ‘covering’ the place of grand parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, mothers, fathers and siblings.

Taking these considerations on board can secure a calmer and more loving period of grief….and that the deceased can indeed rest in peace.

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  1. [...] Kirsten G Nielsen of Edinburgh-based kgndesign Organised even in death [...]