Right after the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in NYC, my husband and I drew up our Will and Power of Attorney and completed both a Health Care Proxy and a living will. In addition, we organized our financial paperwork in one place to make it easier for the remaining spouse to settle the estate, and sat down and discussed what we wanted if either of us became terminally ill. Since both of my parents had already pre-donated their bodies to the university medical school post-death, I made the same bequest so the school would have a genetic lineage to examine. I also have written my own memorial service, and have collected the poems, readings and music (CD's and sheet music for the vocalist) I want at my service, compiled the photos of myself I want displayed, written letters to be given to my daughters upon my death and have told several of my family members which restaurant I'd like to have serve my memorial brunch . Preparing my own memorial service was wonderful–it offered me the opportunity to contemplate the whole of my life and the gifts and lessons in all my relationships and to determine what I would want to be remembered for by those who knew me well. The written material and music I have selected for my service reflect best how I feel about the great gift of life I have been given and the gratitude and awe I feel over the preciousness of existence and the all-encompassing presence of God that I feel. These preparations, coupled with a near-death experience I had in the early '90's have given me a great sense of ease around the subject of my body's future death.
-Pam Kowal, 4/7/2011