Cremation versus buried at sea, versus donating your body to science, versus aquamation; have you really thought about what you want to happen to your body and assets after death?
Author Beth Anderson has and it was a long time coming for her, as her book, Rest Assured, was officially launched on Saturday, March 3 at the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie.
The Port Macquarie-based author – and member of the Port Macquarie branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers NSW – has self-published an interactive guide that deals with almost every practical aspect of dealing with the consequences of death.
Rest Assured is aimed at adults of all ages as a resource for putting in place measures that ensure their wishes are respected posthumously to lighten the load for family members.
While the subject matter appears morbid, there are lighter touches – through cartoons and poems – which help make the guide a constructive and important conversation-starter.
Covering topics such as wills, funeral arrangements and the various options for the corpse, Mrs Anderson said the book sprung out of tragic circumstances.
“The idea for a book started not long after my husband, Mark, died suddenly in 2005 at the age of 49,” Mrs Anderson said.
“I worked in the welfare sector and was used to helping people, but couldn’t find very much to help me with all the practicalities - from the moment he died, through to closing down a small business.
“My oldest brother had died suddenly three years earlier at the age of 48, from a heart attack.
“I was one of two administrators for his estate as he had no will.”
While Mark had made out his will, it took seven years for Mrs Anderson’s brother’s estate to be finalised an experience that led her to want to help others.
“Practicalities was what I became focused on, which then helped the grief and loss,” she said.
“Many people began to tell me of their stories, and their experiences – this isn’t a book about coping with grief and loss, though.
“It’s really about providing practical solutions for your loved ones when you pass on.”
Colleen Parker, president of the Port Macquarie branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers NSW said the book was a great resource in this day and age.
“The book is a circuit breaker for families to have the conversation about what happens when someone dies,” Mrs Parker said.