Grief is a topic not often discussed in public, but it is something everyone experiences at some point in life—some more than others. As former military and now as an estate planning attorney, grief is something I’ve dealt with often, both personally and professionally. Everyone handles grief differently. I often handle grief with humor—it’s just my way. And, I would be lying if I said being in the military didn't give me a flair for dark humor. But I realize not everyone appreciates that sort of thing. It's okay! Through my experiences, I’ve learned that grief feels different for everyone, and even different depending on whom the person has lost.
One of my high school girlfriends recently passed away. She was undergoing a routine medical procedure when suddenly she experienced unexpected complications, and she passed. I hadn’t spent time with her in years, but still, I felt grief at her passing. When it’s someone from your past, with whom you’ve lost contact but keep up via social media, it’s a certain type of grief that is becoming more and more common with the prevalence of social media. We didn’t go to lunch anymore because we lived in different places - different states, even, but at her passing, it felt like I lost a piece of my childhood. Part of my past was now gone. That’s just one kind of grief. There are many kinds.
When you lose those with whom you served in the military, it can feel different, because that connection was different than those childhood connections. For most of us, those relationships are more recent in our history than the people we grew up with. We went through so much together, so far away from everything else we’d known, that it’s a difficult bond to explain. In the military, we are away from family—so those people become our family. That loss can feel more immediate, even if we had since lost touch.
I know that not every loss is the same—and not every person grieves the same way. That’s why, in my business, I work hard to ensure that when you notify us someone you love has passed, we strive to give you time to grieve how you need to. As an estate planning attorney, I can help you make a plan ahead of time, so that if and when the worst happens, you can grieve without worrying about all the details. We give you homework to complete during our relationship—a sort of timeline of things that need to be done before, during, and after—but we move at your pace as best we can. This is why it’s good to have a comprehensive plan to avoid probate, because when that time comes, the last thing you’ll want is to be overwhelmed with figuring out details.
Veterans’ Day was last week, and it’s often a time that I’m thanked for my service. It's worth mentioning that I’m also thanked for my service on Memorial Day, but since Veterans’ Day is a day to remember those who have served but are still with us, and Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died in service, my response on Memorial Day is usually, “I’m still here. I’m not dead yet!” (Yes, like the quote from Monty Python—as I said, I handle most things with humor.)
However you deal with grief, one thing is certain: when the loss of a loved one comes, you won’t want to be figuring out details. You’ll need time to grieve. That’s what we can help provide for you.