Saturday, September 13, 2008

Last Comments on Al Messina - (one last lesson)

(If you came to see the slide show or read about my father, it is in the next blog below.)

Now I want to share with all of you the last gift my father gave our family, in case you want to take steps to give the same to yours. 

A couple of years ago my father became member of the People’s Memorial Association (PMA)  a Washington State organization that let him choose, ahead of time and for an agreed price, the terms of his final services and burial (PMA and Barton web sites have links to similar organizations in other states).

Three times in my life I have had to make or assist family members making similar arrangements: it always was an awful experience punctuated by sales pressure on the survivors to increase their budget and complexity of the choices. Not knowing what the deceased wished, at a time of extreme stress, the pressure is irresistible and the experience miserable for the survivors. My father made those choices simply and clearly himself. 

When the time came my mother was relieved of that worry and from PMA’s statewide roster we picked Barton Family Funeral Service in Kirkland.  There we were so lucky to run into Molly Rampage a kind and caring woman truly committed to relieving my mother’s pain and delivering on the choices my father had already made.  In minutes we handled a painful step and with her help (at no benefit to her) we also arranged the memorial service at The Kirkland Women’s Clubhouse that many of you so kindly attended. Heed my father’s lesson and do the same for yours; they will think as kindly of you as we do now of him. 

A final note: many people assisted my father in his last days and hours and our family in the days that followed. Our family thank you from the bottom of our hearts and acknowledge:
Linda and Carolin, Oncology Nursing Staff at U of W Medical Center
Dr. James Dean,     RNs:   Oncology Nursing Staff at U of W Medical Center

Joie Goodwin and the serene Kirkland Women’s Clubhouse