Dear Holly: You Joined the Parking Lot Sword Fight at Your Brother’s Birthday Party

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend for the end of your brother’s birthday, we let him along with ten other 9 year-olds run around the cul-de-sac with inflatable snake-shaped swords.

It reminded me of the gang fight in the 1983 movie The Outsiders– just a never-ending, chaotic feud of violence.

Granted, it helped in our case that the only weapons were inflatable.

You were just in luck, because there happened to be one extra snake sword.

Without any prodding, you gladly joined the mass sword fight.

The funny thing is, none of the boys realized you were fighting them.

But the whole time, you were laughing mischievously as if you were secretly winning the fight!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 9th Birthday

9 years old!

Dear Jack,

Today is your 9th birthday! And it’s going to be pretty special…

A month ago our family took a fun little road trip to Noccalula Falls, where you specifically loved the petting zoo. Though you have been asking Mommy and me for the past several months for a pet lizard, it wasn’t until you mentioned getting a hamster instead, that for some reason, we were both instantly cool with it.

So today, on your 9th birthday, our family will get a pet for the first time ever!

I think this dwarf hamster is going to be lot of fun for you, as well as provide the right amount of responsibility for you.

Happy Birthday Jack. I love you!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A New Bike, as an Early Birthday Present!

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

In just 2 days, you will be turning 9 years years old!

It won’t be long before you get to open all your birthday presents.

Fortunately, when Nonna and Papa were up at our house a few weeks ago, they gave you their gift early, so that you can enjoy it before the weather starts getting too cold to enjoy it.

You had clearly outgrown your old bicycle. The pedals were nearly hitting the asphalt.

So now, you have the new and improved version. It’s cool to be able to see the two compared right next to each other.

You are growing up!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Looking Back Over 3 Years Ago Since You Met Your Friend Hanna

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Your friend Hanna came to visit us last Saturday morning for breakfast. The two of you love playing together.

Hanna’s daddy took a picture of you playing in your mermaid blanket. It reminded me of when the two of you both met for the first time; back when you were only 6 months old.

We had joked that you were Elsa and Hanna was Jasmine.

So I suppose from now on, every time we take an updated version of you both, we’ll compare it back to that picture of when you two met each other!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: You Won the Boat Race Against Your Brother!

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

You have now been initiated into the Shell tradition of boat racing in the creek.

Back in college, some of my friends and I would make silly boats of of plastic bottles and race them in the creek in a nearby park.

Several years ago, when your brother was about your age now, I started teaching him how to make boats to take to the creek.

Now this tradition has been passed down to you, as your brother built a brand-new boat for you.

Honestly, I wasn’t even involved in the process. He took care of it all.

All I did was walk the two of you down to the creek and watch you both have fun.

And as it turns out, you actually won the boat race!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Helping Your Sister Build a Boat for the Race

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Over the years, you and I have had this tradition of going to the creek in the next neighborhood over, to sail your newest homemade boat.

Now that it finally rained recently, allowing to give the creek water again, we decided to head back there.

But first, you spent some time with your sister after church, helping her design her own boat, so that the two of your could race them.

To your surprise, her boat won the face.

To my surprise, that didn’t bother you at all.

I think you were just proud to teach her how to have fun in a new way!

Love,

Daddy

How to Make Funeral Arrangements at the Last Minute

Did your loved one unexpectedly pass away? Your next step is to plan a funeral on short notice. Discover how to make funeral arrangements quickly.

How often do you think about dying? Even if you don’t obsess about your own death, you might think about what might happen if someone you love dies.

What would you do if a family member, partner, or close friend died unexpectedly and you had the job of planning their funeral?

Unless you’ve made a career of it, or you’ve planned the funerals for other loved ones, you have no idea how to make funeral arrangements. You’re not alone, and shouldn’t be at a time like this.

We want to take a minute and help you prepare for this difficult event. Read this post, print it out or save it in your archives. You’ll have a step-by-step plan at your fingertips.

Work with a Checklist

In a perfect world, you’d have time to talk with your loved one ahead of time. If you’re dealing with an unexpected death, you won’t have the luxury of knowing what they wanted for their final goodbye.

Making a funeral checklist as soon as possible after the death will make the rest of the planning process go smoothly.

The checklist should come before you set the funeral budget. Get together with other immediate family members and ask for input. Funerals have a way of bringing even the most disconnected families together and you should take care to not leave anyone out.

Make an extra effort to include people who’ve committed to helping you pay for the funeral expenses. A funeral checklist should include the following details:

  • Funeral Venue
  • Size
  • Viewing
  • Funeral Officiant
  • Reception

These are the basics, but you and your family should feel free to modify the checklist to serve your unique needs.

Put Together the Funeral Budget

What a relief if your loved one put money aside for their funeral expenses! Sometimes that isn’t possible, and you’ll end up covering the costs. If that’s the case with your situation, it’s up to you and your family to determine how much you can spend.

Planning a funeral and doing it with a budget in mind, doesn’t have to divide the family.

Emotions usually run high when a family faces the death of a person they love. Each person deals with the loss in their own way. Sometimes that includes going overboard with extravagant funeral details.

Putting together a budget and sticking with it can help make the entire funeral planning process easier for everyone.

The Money Talk

In 2019, the average funeral cost is between $7,000 and $9,000. Buying the casket is often your highest expense. If you’ve decided on cremation, you may spend anywhere from $2000-$4000.

Paying for a funeral is difficult enough if you’re on your own and don’t have the money. If you have siblings or other family members who want to have a say in things, it’s even harder.

While you certainly can’t force anyone to contribute, you should present the budget and the funeral checklist so that everyone who needs to be involved gains an understanding of how much money you’ll need.

It’s easiest if each person can pay an equal amount towards the costs. Maybe you have family members who can’t afford to pay as much as the others. Whatever you do, don’t make them feel uncomfortable—encourage them to contribute what they can (if anything) financially.

You’ll have plenty of tasks you can divide up among the group. Allow people to share in that aspect of the funeral so that they feel like they’re contributing something even if it’s not money.

Is There a Life Insurance Policy?

Another blessing many people forget about when a loved one dies suddenly is a life insurance policy.

It’s great if you’re the beneficiary of a policy because it’s possible you can use the money for funeral expenses. Contact the insurance company for instructions about filing a claim. Keep in mind that you may need to cover the funeral initially while waiting for the claim processing.

Don’t rule out seeking help with funeral expenses from a church or other community group where your loved one had ties. Also, if they were a veteran, check with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for information on filing a claim.

Taking Care of the Body

No one wants to think about transporting a loved one’s body, but it’s a necessary part of the planning process.

Nursing homes and hospitals take care of moving the body to a funeral home. If the person dies at home or away from a healthcare facility, a coroner typically comes and officially pronounces the death.

Depending on your location, your state may require an autopsy. You’ll pay to transport the body to a morgue for the autopsy, and then to the funeral home.

Another part of taking care of your loved one’s remains deals with paperwork such as the Death Registration, Death Certificate, Burial Permit. Usually, you can get information on these forms from the Department of Health, also called the Department of Statistics in some counties.

Planning the Funeral Service

Now you can plan the funeral or memorial service for your loved one.

The traditional funeral service consists of 3 parts:

  • Visitation
  • Service
  • Burial

If you decide on a traditional funeral, you can hold the visitation and service at a funeral home. You can also hold the service at a place of worship. If you prefer a unique funeral service, consider any of the following locations:

  • A hotel
  • A boat
  • At home

People also hold funeral services in parks or natural areas. If your loved one enjoyed the ocean, consider a seaside service.

A viewing isn’t necessary, but do plan a service or memorial where people can come and say goodbye.

Now You Know How to Make Funeral Arrangements

Even though it’s not something any of us want to dwell on, it’s helpful to have a plan for the day a loved one dies.

Making a funeral checklist, putting together a budget, taking care of the business side of death, and finally planning the service is all part of knowing how to make funeral arrangements.

After reading this, hopefully, you feel more prepared for that day when it comes.

If you found this post helpful, continue reading through our archives. You’ll find articles on everything family. Thanks for reading!