In this third part of a series of conversations around life transitions, Maya (@mayaonmoney) speaks to Louis van der Merwe of WealthUp about the biggest transition of all: death – or what could be called the “end-of-life transition”.
Death is a part of life. Whether it is dealing with the death of a loved one or contemplating our own mortality, we need to learn how to manage both the fears and practical side of mortality.
Talking about the end-of-life transition
Maya and Louis discuss how to have these conversations with family, how to handle the unexpected death of a loved one, and steps to take when you or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Death is something that will happen to all of us at some point. We need to ensure that our affairs are in order so that we don’t leave our loved ones with an administrative and financial nightmare – from dealing with the estate to what happens to social media accounts.
Louis says a good starting point is to discuss what you want life to look like if something happens to you or your partner.
From there you can assess what steps you need to take to achieve that. Identify someone who can help you through this time, whether that is a trusted family member, friend or adviser.
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, take time to grieve. You don’t have to do everything at once. Draw up a list of what needs to be done now and what can wait. Prepare a statement to give to those family members “that come out of the woodwork” to give yourself breathing space.
The four stages of transition
The transition for a widowed person can take up to eight years before they find their “new-normal”. This follows the same process as any transition:
- Anticipation – where one moves between feeling excited and invincible to being simply terrified
- Ending – this comes with a sense of loss or grief
- Passage – this is the messy “middle” where you have to put back the pieces in a different way to find your new identity
- A new normal – this is the acceptance that your life is now different. It will not go back to being what it was before, but that is okay. This is another chapter – another version of yourself.