Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Crusade 24

Well Michelle...three crusades in row! Didn't I do well?

Crusade 24 is all about writing our ‘final wishes’ for our loved ones. This was prompted by the death of Michelles sister in the latter part of 2008 and whilst Michelle acknowledged that some people would not want to partake in this challenge she nevertheless felt the need to encourage us to document our final wishes. You can find her blog post here


In 2002 the possibility of dying was very real to me. I had been diagnosed with Bowel Cancer one day and was operated on the next day. The next few months were very difficult and I did actually spend a lot of time planning my funeral. It used to really upset me but it was a process that was crucial to my acceptance of where I was...at that time. I really felt it was necessary. I once tried to talk to my daughter about my wishes but it upset her and she didn't want to talk about it. She thought I was being dramatic!

The fact is though, that these things are easier if decided upon earlier and after my good friend Ann died just before xmas at the very young age of 56 I decided that I really had to stop procrastinating and get on with it. So I sat a couple of nights ago and composed a very long but necessary letter. One copy has been attached to my art journal, the other has been placed in my jewelry box. I intend to tell all the family where it is so that there will be no question about my final wishes when the time comes. Whats good about this is that once you have a framework for it, you can add to it quite easily. I even woke last night remembering something I hadn't put in so its good that it can be modified!

When I read my letter back it struck me that all those things that are important to me could almost be thought of as useless pieces of information...that is until the event actually happens...and then my kids will be glad that I have picked the piece of music I have. They will love my references to 'Mummy's Moon' and I feel sure they will find some comfort from my little oddities.

Here then are the journal pages. I enjoyed doing these cos I was sat watching the tv and I kind of did a 'free spirit' thing. I cut and stuck and used those lovely caran d'ache watercolour crayons, finally adding an envelope with my letter inside.

Thank-you Michelle for pushing this...it was something I had intended to do for a while and now I am so glad it is done!


michelle ward said...

Wow Julie. We've learned so much about you in these paragraphs. Firstly, bravo for bravely beating *C*. Secondly, *high five* for getting the Final Wishes done - such a gift to your family, completed with clarity and thoughtfulness, and hopefully not necessary for a very long time. Thirdly, YOU are on a roll. Three crusades in a row!! Great way to wrap up '08 and begin '09, working in your journal. Love the pages, especially the tipped in envelope. Thanks for sharing your work, and your story, with the team. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Like Michelle, I am stunned - you are *so* on a roll!! I am pleased you're a survivor, and now an organised one at that. Good on you. Thanks to the Crusades, my whole family has their final wishes safely stored and it's a good feeling to know it is done.

Lin Walker said...

This was so touching. And I applaud you for doing it. When my mother passed, we found her wishes right at the front of her filing cabinet. She made it VERY clear exactly what she wanted and we were able to fulfill her wishes. No trying to make decisions about what she MIGHT have wanted - we knew. It was a beautiful family only gathering that brought us all a degree of closure, knowing we were doing her wishes. Now I need to get my own done! Thank you for sharing this very personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,
beautifull pages and fabulous for all kind of reasons: THREE crusades in row, doing this hard one, and now... being the winner on this crusade!!! CONGRATS and wishing you ALL the best for the coming year!

Carmen said...

This is beautiful Julie and... speaking from experience, it will help so much if they know what you are doing. Mum always used to joke with us that she wanted the Last Post played at her funeral. We all used to laugh but when she got ill and it was obvious what was happening - she reminded us and even had an LP of it for us to play. She even told us down to where she was to have her ashes put (with her own Mum) and that she wanted a wicker casket rather than a coffin. She'd even been saving for years . Her fuh fuh savings as she called it (funeral fund)again we used to laugh and say she was morbid. It did help though, knowing we were doing what she wanted. I want to do something like this for the girls but like you say, it's not something you want to think about. Your journal is stunning.