Tony’s physical well-being became tenuous, with probability of fatal incident. In between bouts of cancer, further investigations of his heart identified additional blockages. “We need to discuss and make arrangements for my future,” he suggested. “I don’t want to leave everything for you to do”.
He made several changes to his funeral wish list as selected pallbearers either faded from view or were struck from favour. Eventually there would be only honorary appointees instead of six accompanists. We felt masterful in completing the task. The process of visiting the funeral home office and selecting an urn from the inventory felt bizarre.
We noticed that a growing trend at funerals was a projected slideshow of family pictures as either part of the service or at the receptions thereafter. Freestanding easels were often set up for mounted collages. New technology also made it simple for custom-made videos. ”Ron could do one for me,” Tony suggested. Ron was Tony’s brother-in-law by marriage to Tony’s first wife. They still kept in touch.
Tony received a gift from his daughter of a digital photo display. I accumulated favorite photos and saved them to a USB travel drive, which plugged into the side of the frame. My intention was to use them as a base upon which to expand. It feels weird to even consider having a video prepared in advance for Tony’s funeral gathering, but it also seemed more practical than having something put together at the last minute.
I thought about the different phases of Tony’s life and depicting them in different segments, which would include his younger years and family times. The last part would be our times together.
Any terminal diagnosis is devastating to anyone who learns of grave news. Tony knew his luck was running thin when his heart rate irreparably fell out of rhythm, and his pulse began to slow. “I guess I’m for the high jump,” he said glumly, when speaking with his son. “Your mother had the best of me, Sherry has the short straw”.
Though we didn’t speak of it, his affairs were in order should the need arise.