Today I wanted to talk about what I’m planning to wear after I’m dead. Obviously. A natural conversation that would be welcome at any dinner party, I’m sure you’ll agree. (Not that I would know – I’ve never been to a dinner party in my life. I digress…)
The Original Plan
When I made my first End of Life Plan, and I got to the bit where I had to decide what I wanted to be wearing in my coffin, I found it a surprisingly difficult question to answer.
I don’t particularly have a favourite piece of clothing. My dressing gown doesn’t seem quite appropriate although I think it’s probably perfect attire for many people.
But I feel like I need something a little more formal. Because even if nobody is going to see me in the coffin (and let’s face it, I’m never going to know), I still feel like it’s a rather formal occasion.
I got really quite stuck on trying to figure it out – what will I wear when I’m dead?
I eventually decided there’s a particular dress that I am quite fond of and carries some sentimental value (and that I happen to think I look quite good in!), so it’s that dress that I wrote down in my End of Life Plan.
The Current Plan
Fast forward some time and I’ve been revisiting this in my head.
Is that actually the dress I want to wear? Or would I like something else?
My current thinking is I would actually like to go into my coffin in a shroud.
I think there’s something very simple, elegant and minimalistic about a shroud that – for me – feels very appropriate, at the point where I’ll no longer be alive.
So a shroud is the current plan.
But will this still be the case in a year’s time?
Now, you might be wondering, “Annette, why are you sharing this with me? I don’t really care what you wear once you’re dead.” And that’s a fair point.
Why It Matters
But I have two thoughts for you. The first is: it matters.
At first glance, what you wear on the way to your burial/cremation, [insert interesting other option here], may not seem like a big thing.
But if I’m struggling now, whilst I am fit and healthy and can think with clarity, to decide how I would like my body to be dressed in my coffin, imagine how difficult it is for others to decide when they are grieving and in shock.
It’s so much easier to let others know in advance what you would like. It’s one less decision for them to make when they have little to no energy left to do so.
So perhaps this is something you want to give some thought to. For example, do you have a particular favourite outfit that you would want to be buried in?
Or maybe there is a single item of clothing that has sentimental value and you would like it to be kept with you.
What about your jewellery; your wedding ring? Would you like that to remain with you or would you want it to be gifted to somebody?
Do you want to wear shoes or be barefoot?
All of these things require – and deserve – some thought and I invite you to do so, whenever and wherever resonates with you. Write down any answers as you discover them because in doing so, you really will be giving an amazing gift to the people around you when they need it.
The other thing to think about is that it’s okay to change your mind. I’ve changed my mind and I totally expect to change my mind again, and that’s absolutely fine!
End of Life Planning is not set in stone. You write down what is true for you right now. You visit it regularly – ideally annually – and just check and make sure that nothing has changed.
But if it has, that’s absolutely fine too.
So, when you die, what would you like to be wearing in the coffin? And is that the same answer you would have given five years ago? And if not, it probably won’t be the same answer in five years’ time.
And that is exactly why I believe everyone needs an End of Life Plan. I will leave you with that thought…
Until next time, take care.