Father Wilhelm, Stephanie Armstrong team up to help with end of life decisions, arrangements.

Nothing in life prepares you for facing the end, whether it’s the end of your own life or the death of a loved one - few even want to discuss the matter yet it’s something we all face, one way or another.

As the end nears or when it comes suddenly many decision must be made and having a little preparation and information could make a world of difference.
To ease the difficulties that surround those end of life decisions Father Wilhelm from St. Joseph Catholic Church and Stephanie Armstrong from Gilbertson’s Funeral Home are teaming up to present an evening where you can get your questions answered and learn about the guidelines from a Catholic perspective and from the director of a funeral home.

The event will take place Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the St. Joseph Parish Center located at the corner of Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue directly across from the Old Post Office Museum.

Father Wilhelm will address the following:
•Questions and guidelines for Catholic funeral
•What the Church teaches about cremation
•How to plan a Catholic funeral
•Why Catholics pray for the dead
•How to choose appropriate music and scripture
Armstrong’s presentation will focus on the financial arrangements that can be made in advance.
•What a funeral director does
•When you lose someone, what do you do first?
•Planning your funeral ahead of death
•What is funeral insurance?
•Expenses to expect.

Both Father Wilhelm and Armstrong will be willing to answer any questions you may have about the process or what to expect.
No two people go through grief and the grieving process the same and there are no rules as you do, experts say.

It is Father Wilhelm’s wish that people would attend to help clear up some of the confusion and misconceptions he’s found that people have when it comes to making those final plans for your self or a loved one.

“There’s no reason to wait until someone passes away suddenly to learn about the choices available, sometimes it’s hard to make those decisions in the midst of shock, grief and loss,” he said.

Both Father Wilhelm and Armstrong encourage everyone to attend, it is open to all. Everyone will have to deal with this topic eventually.

Topics to consider
Some topics you might consider discussing could include coping with the holidays, as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years approach. How do you face the “joy”  of this time of year when you’re not feeling so joyful, you’ve lost a loved one or you’ve received a serious diagnosis?
•How others react to your pain?
•Guilt or regret after a death.
•Where is faith/God in the midst of my grief or loss?
•You can’t hide from grief.
•What is the grieving process? How long does it, should it last?
•Why can’t I get through this on my own?
•When grief doesn’t go away.
•Help through grief.
•Coping with feelings.

This list of topics is just the tip of the ice burg that grief can be.

St. Joseph also has GriefShare which is a support group for those who have lost a loved one that meets biweekly  at the St. Joseph Parish Center.
Mercy Hospice is another resource for this time of a person’s life. Although their presence in the community has changed somewhat recently, their services are still available for the dying and for the families of those who are dying.

The Hospice Foundation of America provides a wealth of information about the process, if you’re interested they can be reached at www.hospicefoundation.org. They even provide a monthly publication titled Journeys that deals with the numerous topics of a very complicated part of living.

Another resource is the Compassionate Friends Group which has been active in the area in the past, although they are not meeting presently. Contact the Lake Region Human Services for more information about these services or other resources that may be available in the area.