‘Life must go on’. How can we make it easier on our loved ones to move forward after a death?
Rachel Smith, Co-founder of Lifefyle, talks about life admin and how organising your life not only lightens your mental load, but has the added benefit of being a comfort and help to your family in the event of your death.
If your world has been shattered by the death of the person you love, then you will know that picking up those broken pieces and moving on with life will be the single most difficult thing that any of us will face. And in those days and weeks when you are totally engulfed in grief, the idea that you’ll be able to move through that darkness and into a life that is fulfilled and filled with love again, is one that is seemingly impossible.
And yet, as the saying goes, life will and must go on.
I think it’s true to say that for most of us, when we think of our own death, our wish is for our loved ones to move forward into a new ‘normal’ and re-find their way back to a life with meaning and purpose. Our desire is to ease that burden of grief as much as we possibly can. And so, because we know that there will never be a way to mitigate against the devastating emotional impact, we do what we can practically to make life as smooth as possible for those left behind.
We tend to put the big things in place – we write wills and sort out our financial affairs. And, while this is undoubtedly a necessity to help reduce the uncertainty and the administrative burden after death, it doesn’t lighten the load completely.
It will be the small broken links, in a life no longer with you in it, that will catch them out – unprepared and unaware.
Think about the role that you play in your family and everything that you do, unannounced and semi-automatically all the time, that means life ticks over from day to day. All of these things will become the sole responsibility of your loved ones overnight – from washing the school uniforms and reordering the coffee pods, to taxing the car or paying the water bill, to making decisions about your family’s future.
And, in order to get on with things, for their life to move forward, they will need the knowledge that is intrinsically yours… be it the random security answers for each utility supplier, the standing order details for the newspaper delivery or the children’s university enrolment details & rental payment confirmation.
In other words – they need to know where to find the endless, infinite life admin details that define your life, at the time of your death.
I have the privilege of knowing Judith Katz, who at the age of 30 suddenly lost her partner. Speaking to her 10 years on about how she coped has been heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring in equal measure. She explains “If one thing could embody the vulnerability I felt at that time it was probably the paperwork - the sheer, grinding oppression of paperwork generated by an unexpected death”.
How can you possibly prepare for that?
The truth is you can’t prepare for it in the wake of a sudden death. You can only prepare for it by getting it organised, noted down somewhere and sharing it during life. That means sharing it all as you go along - and to make that work properly, you need to find a practical way of doing so.
This is where a product like Lifefyle comes in.
Lifefyle is an app that allows you to manage and share life admin as it arrives, and in whatever format it comes in. We built it to help people lighten their mental load in life, and quickly discovered how much Lifefyle also helps in the event of a death. With document categorisation and a structure that’s unique to your family situation, you can share and nominate access to everything that you need to manage family and home life.
From day to day appointments, invitations, reminders and must do’s to the big important stuff like insurances, assurances and wills – Lifefyle lets you store and share it all. It’s offers a secure way to keep your affairs in order, in real time, ensuring that those that are left behind won’t be ground down by endless repeated phone-calls trying to access accounts or hours digging through old paperwork to find the missing piece of the puzzle.
Judith, who has been using Lifefyle to manage her own family life admin for the last year, is certain it would have helped her 10 years ago. Reflecting on her relationship with paperwork now, she says “I used to get really anxious about my never-ending to-do lists. Now I can capture, organise & remember everything that I need to do, and all the documents I need are in exactly the same place”.
She adds “While lessening that administrative burden [for your family] may not be the most romantic gesture in the world, it is absolutely and unquestionably an act of love”.
To find out more about Lifefyle and how it can help you and your family, or to read more about Judith’s story, head to our website www.lifefyle.com.