In a post last month, I posited the questions "What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?" I was being a bit facetious, (because I asked it merely as a set-up for a joke) but it quickly became engendered something more. People started considering the question seriously, Mama Rachel started to cry (She's pregnant, so no biggie.)
(Note: I just read back and realized that I used the words "posited," facetious," and "engendered" in the opening paragraph. I need to be more careful, as I do not want to alienate any of my UofU readers.)
One of my loyal readers, Viki, and I were on Facebook and she mentioned that there should be an "Impending Death FHE Lesson." I thought it was a good idea.
So I said, "Write it up, and I'll post it on the blog."
Viki said, "I'm pretty busy - you do it."
And I said, "No, you do it."
And she said, "No, you do it."
And I said, "No, you do it."
And she said, "No, you do it."
And I said, "No, you do it."
And she said "Fine. I'll do it."
(Please note that I won this fictitious battle)
Anyway, despite her phenomenally busy life, Viki wrote up an outline for an FHE lesson that addresses the subject of preparing for death. This is not a lesson for little kids, and I would appreciate any ideas on how - or if - one might address this with little ones. But if your kids are old enough, this would be great - and it is especially valuable for older families and even empty-nesters. (Yes, empty-nesters are still supposed to have FHE.)
A little bit about Viki. Her full name is Viki Groberg Bailey. (Yes, that Groberg - One of the coolest missionaries ever. And no, her mom is not the new Catwoman). Here is the bio that Viki provided:
Viki Bailey is the tenth of eleven children. She has moved 20 times in her life. Some of those times were on her mission in Brazil. She is currently living in Idaho Falls with her awesome EC and seven FOML’s, where she works part-time as a RN, part-time as Primary President and full-time as laundry manager. She enjoys beautiful sunsets and long walks (from the computer to the freezer for ice cream). She blogs semi-occasionally at sourspirited.blogspot.com.
Thank you Viki, that was lovely. And when she says she blogs occasionally, she means maybe once-a-month.
Here is the lesson - our thanks to Viki for pulling it together.
Family Home Evening
Opening Song: Hymn #229 (All verses) “Today While the Sun Shines”
Scripture: Alma 11:42; Alma 12:16
What is Death?
From the Bible Dictionary: (Dig into the definition and the listed scriptures by having kids look some of them up.)
Two kinds of death are spoken of in the scriptures. One is the death of the body, which is caused by the separation of the body from the spirit; i.e., “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). The other is spiritual death, which is to die as pertaining to, or to be separated from, righteousness—to be alienated from the things of God (Alma 12:16, 32; 40:26). Both of these deaths were introduced into the world by the fall of Adam. But death is also the consequence of our own sins. We make our own spiritual death by our works, our thoughts, and our actions. As Paul said, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and some are “dead” while they “liveth” (1 Tim. 5:6).
In explaining these things, Jacob called the physical death, the grave, and spiritual death he called hell. The atonement of Jesus Christ will bring all persons back into the presence of God to be judged, the body coming forth from the grave and uniting with the spirit released from paradise or from hell (as the case may be). This will restore all mankind to the presence of God. This is the same as Paul spoke: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21–23). Then those who have willfully rebelled against the light and truth of the gospel will suffer again a spiritual death, which is called the second death (Rev. 20:14; Alma 12:16–18; Hel. 14:16–19; D&C 76:36–37). Each person suffers only one physical death, since when once resurrected, the body can die no more (Alma 11:42–45). Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall (2 Ne. 2:22; Moses 6:48).
All of us are going to die. It is the one inevitable thing we will all face (besides taxes, right??) Some of us will die quickly, some slowly. Some at a young age, some at an older age. Some from illness or disease, others from a random accident. None of us know for sure the hour in which we will die, and for that precise reason, it is important for each of us to prepare for our deaths, in whatever ways we can.
Perhaps you have heard this question before: “If you had only 24 hours to live, what would you do?” Our answers would be as varied as our personalities are, but one important facet of death, is remembering those we leave behind. For this reason, it is important to take a few moments to talk about our own wishes and to share the necessary legal and physical preparations with our loved ones that we may leave behind.
In time of grief, it would be so nice to have some difficult decisions already made ahead of time. Everyone who is responsible for other human beings (parents and spouse especially) should leave a living will (gives details of what medical measures you would desire if you are not able to speak yourself); a will (laying out how you would like your children and your possessions taken care of should you die prematurely); a detailed funeral plan; and lastly, letters to loved ones.
Prepare (if you have not already) something in each of the four areas above (Living Will; Will; Funeral outline; Letters)
Following are some links/resources that may be helpful:
(You may also ask at your local hospital to see if they have a form and they may even provide a notary public to notarize it for you).
There are many websites out there, just find one that works for you and then always have it reviewed by a trusted attorney to make sure it is accurate and aligns with your personal wishes. (Personal side note here…*Life insurance should be carried by everyone. It is common sense and should never be a matter of discussion, but just something you DO!! Whom that money will go to would likely be one of the things specified in the last will and testament.)
Think about things that mean a lot to you and that you would like to have shared at your funeral. (For example, my husband is completely against an open-casket, where I am not, etc.) You can use the following outline, or come up with your own, to list some of the things that you would like done for your own funeral/viewing.
MY OWN FUNERAL
Do I want an open casket?
Is there anything I would like to be buried with me?
Do I want a viewing?
What music/songs do I love?
Is there a specific instrument/person who I would like to have perform?
Where would I like to be buried?
Is there something specific I would like on my tombstone?
Who would I like to dedicate my grave?
Writing a letter to a loved one expressing your feeling and love for them is something that will be a treasure to that person for the rest of their mortal sojourn on Earth. Here is an example of a letter that Marie Antoinette wrote only moments before she was killed.
Some good things to express in a letter to a loved one may be: Favorite memories you have of or with that person; things that you love and admire about that person; what you will miss most about that person; advice you would like to see that person abide by; your testimony of the gospel.
Start a file or envelope with everyone’s letters to each other and funeral plans written down. Store in a safe place.
(MMM note: This part is really important. I would recommend that you also include copies of insurance policies, necessary financial accounts, logins and passwords, etc. Update them regularly. At some scrapbook and office supply stores, you can find a big black envelope to put it all in.)
“Death By Chocolate” Cake
"Death helps us to see what is worth trusting and loving and what is a waste of time."
J. Neville Ward, Methodist minister (1915 - 1992).
"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death."
Leonardo da Vinci
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
Closing Song: Children’s Songbook, 82 “When He Comes Again”
Optional “Longer Version” FHE Activity: Spend an entire 24 hours (in real time) as if they were your last 24 hours in mortality. Take a day off of work if need be, or do it on a Saturday or Sunday. Spend it how you wish, but try to include in those 24 hours the actual paperwork needed (if not already done previously) to have the preparations talked about earlier all completed. Start a file or envelope with everyone’s letters to each other and funeral plans written down. Store in a safe place.
(p.s. Eat enough servings of cake, and the whole “24 hour activity” may be closer to reality than you know it! LOL)
(Another idea for food during the optional 24 hour long FHE activity: Serve Funeral potatoes and ham and lots of rolls and cakes and jello!)
Again, thanks to Viki for pulling this together. We welcome comments or ideas on how to present this stuff to younger kids as well. (The thought strikes me that a perfect time would be when a loved one, or a pet dies.)
Have a good Sabbath!