My Goal Is To Help You Go Out in Style

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Marriage is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me, besides having children and getting Botox of course.

The downside to marriage though, is that it just doesn’t last. I know there is the whole “happily ever after theory” but the reality of that is simply improbable.

You see, I am not referring to divorce; I am referring to death.

Couples start marriage at the same time and place but it usually doesn’t end that way. Rarely do married folks exit out of this world at the same moment.

I happen to have some experience in the separation of two people destined to be together forever. For 25 years I worked in the funeral business along side my husband Johnnie, who was a funeral director. As you might imagine, we saw a lot of separation due to death.

And now? Well, I am the left over part of “happily ever after”

As professionals in the funeral business, Johnnie and I prided ourselves on being prepared for the very common but unexpected occurrence of death. We knew the pitfalls of what happens when people don’t think about or plan for their own death. On the surface, no one really thinks they are going to die; it’s like the unexpected pregnancy…it happens to everyone else but you! But we knew better, right?

So I planned and planned, nagging my sweet, always dressed in a black suit, handsome husband about our own planning.

His answer was always,’ I have it taken care of and since I am still standing, may I please deal with today’s funerals’.

Well the good news is we did have a lot of it taken care of; but little did I know there were some surprises in store for me. And I only found out about them after Johnnie passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2007.

So, I want to share with you some of the things I learned the hard way. You might be surprised yourself.

Lets start with keys. Yes, I said keys.

I distinctly remember shortly after Johnnie’s death, my sweet, handsome (aren’t they all?) UPS man stopped by our house to deliver a package and convey his sympathy to my girls and me. He told me how sad he and his wife were for us and asked was there anything they could do for my family. I smiled, gave him a hug and with tears in my eyes I said please go home and tell your wife what the keys on your key ring go to. What? Seriously. I didn’t have the faintest idea what all the keys in Johnnie’s top drawer belonged to, not to mention the ones on his key ring. All I know is that somewhere there is someone who is locked out of something and I now own the missing key!!

Seems pretty trivial doesn’t it? Do you know what key goes to what lock? Take it from me, please don’t wait until later to find out.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more little nuggets that will likely have you either laughing, crying, or shaking your head in disbelief.

Until then, say your prayers, say I love you, trust in God and make it your goal to “go out in style”.

Next up: Check Your Mail!


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Who's Talking

Boyd M.

"Mrs. Oliver has given us the list of "What to Do" before one spouse (or close family member) passes so the survivor will know what to do, especially during such a vulnerable time. She had to learn the hard way as her husband died suddenly one night. Written with character, grace, charm and humor, she has taken a rather morbid subject and turned it into pleasurable reading. From putting both names on the utility bills and bank accounts, picking out burial plots, what to say (and not to say), to telling your spouse about each key on your key ring, she has itemized the things that everyone needs to know. Then she tells of the Do's and Don'ts regarding what the survivor's first year or so after passage of their loved one. Great advice!"


The Undertaker’s Wife

Part memoir, part how-to book, The Undertaker’s Wife offers insights on grief, survival, and the ever-present faithfulness of God. Sometimes poignant, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, Dee’s story helps readers prepare for one of life’s only certainties–and do it with wisdom, grace, and a healthy dose of joy.