Before All Is Said and Done: Practical Advice on Living and Dying Well

Before All Is Said and Done: Practical Advice on Living and Dying Well

by Suzanne Watson, Pat Miles
Before All Is Said and Done: Practical Advice on Living and Dying Well

Before All Is Said and Done: Practical Advice on Living and Dying Well

by Suzanne Watson, Pat Miles


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“For a culture that finds it difficult to talk about the end of life, Before All Is Said and Done is the roadmap we all need to navigate the practicalities of death while experiencing shock, loss, and grief.” —Lee Woodruff, NYT Bestselling author

The notion of planning for one’s death is intrinsically at odds with our human instinct to avoid considering our own mortality. Although we may contemplate the grief that our life’s impermanence would cause to our loved ones, we seldom consider the myriad of emotional and legal issues that can arise afterward.

Before All Is Said and Done begins with the experience of author Pat Miles Zimmerman and her husband, Charles “Bucky” Zimmerman. Pat and Bucky were fully set for life but, regrettably, not set for death. After Bucky’s death from an abrupt and short illness, Pat found herself with a plate full of unanticipated emotions, decisions, and legal problems.

But, as she spoke with other widows, she learned she was not alone in finding herself adrift after losing a spouse. The shock and grief that erupt from such a loss do not create a state of mind fit for navigating the numerous challenges that follow an unexpected death.

Pat Miles Zimmerman will prepare us for the oft-ignored problems that run in tandem with somber situations:

  • The shock of loss and what to expect

  • Facing a potential cognitive decline

  • Finding support and healthy grieving

  • Family disputes and blended family issues

  • Caring for yourself after the loss

Although we may initially shirk away from the notion of our life’s transience, it is powerfully beneficial to ready ourselves and our loved ones for every stage of life — and death. Before All Is Said and Done weaves the definitive path on how to be set for both.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641467476
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication date: 10/04/2022
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

PAT MILES ZIMMERMAN, Esteemed for her professionalism by viewers, listeners, and her colleagues, the versatile Pat Miles became one of the Minneapolis region’s premier television news anchors and radio talk hosts.

After earning her master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri, Miles worked in both radio and television news in Colorado before joining WCCO TV in 1978 as a reporter and weekend anchor. Her intelligent reporting and authoritative delivery soon brought her to the anchor desk of WCCO’s 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM newscasts. She covered every major news event for WCCO TV but was most proud of A Time to Weep, her documentary on the famine in Africa. In 1990, she moved to KARE TV, where she anchored the 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM newscasts and developed A Pat Miles Special, using her writing and interviewing prowess to tell the stories of notable Minnesotans.

When she left TV news in 2001, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming the host of The Pat Miles Show weekday mornings on WCCO Radio.

A role model for women in the industry, she has received numerous honors for her work in broadcasting and in the community, including the National Television Academy’s Silver Circle Award.

SUZANNE SPARROW WATSON earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and English Literature. She began her career working for a real estate development company in Fair Oaks, California, writing and designing advertising campaigns. After returning to her native San Francisco Bay Area, she entered the human resources field, working for a commercial insurance company. She was eventually recruited by Bank of America to develop management training programs. Over an eighteen-year career with the bank, she held increasingly responsible positions supporting a wide range of the bank’s businesses. She retired in 2002 as Executive Vice President of Human Resources for the Consumer Bank.

In 2004, she wrote her first book, In the Enemy’s Camp. The book weaves together historical events with the experience of her husband and his family, who endured three and a half years as prisoners in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines during World War II.
In 2012, she began writing the blog, From a Bird’s Eye View, which she co-authors with her brother, Bob. Every Monday, they post a short essay about travel, life’s little observations, or anything that strikes their fancy — other than politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Widow's Web 9

Chapter 1 Going Through Hell 13

Grief: Learning to Live in a World of Sadness 14

There Is No Timeline for Grief 16

How Do You Find a Way Forward? 19

Lessons Learned about the Fog of Grief 24

Chapter 2 Don't Die before You're Ready 25

Finding a Trusted Partner 28

Selecting Successor Trustees and Powers of Attorney 31

What About the Deceased Spouse's Business? 33

What to Tell the Children about Your Estate 37

Fighting over Grandma's Pie Plate 39

My Spouse Died. Now What? 40

Lessons Learned about Estate Planning 42

Chapter 3 Why Do I Feel So Poor? 43

Organize Your Life for Death 47

How to Select a Trusted Advisor 49

How to Handle Life Insurance Money 51

Why You Should Consider Intention Letters 52

Lessons Learned about Financial Planning 57

Chapter 4 Dad Never Told Us That 59

The Need to Have Difficult Conversations 63

The Stepparent Gets the Blame 65

Lessons Learned about Dealing with Stepchildren 66

Chapter 5 Saying the Long Goodbye 67

With Dementia, Early Detection Is Key 71

The Stigma of Dementia 73

Good Planning Is Key to Managing Life with MCI 75

Caregivers, Take Care of Yourselves Too 78

The Importance of a Specific Diagnosis 84

When to Consider a Memory-Care Facility 86

Socialization Is Important for Dementia Patients 88

Lessons Learned about Dementia 89

Chapter 6 Stung by Sudden Death 91

Sudden Death Calls for a Different Grieving Process 99

Grief Is Not a Linear Process 105

Loss Is More Than Grief 106

Reserve a Time for Reflection 108

Consider Trauma Therapy 110

Lessons Learned about Sudden Death 111

Chapter 7 Missing Out on Funerals and Hugs 113

COVID Also Affected Young Families 116

The Unintended Consequences of the Pandemic 120

COVID Widows and Widowers 122

PTSD Caused by COVID 124

Lessons Learned about COVID Widows 125

Chapter 8 Surviving the Ultimate Sacrifice 127

Why Military Deaths Are Different 132

Death Does Not Define the Life Lived 133

Finding a Purpose 137

Moving through Grief and Finding Joy 139

Relish the Perfect Amount of Time 142

Lessons Learned about Military Deaths 143

Chapter 9 Don't Drink and Grieve 145

Grieving Is Part of Recovery 148

Proper Treatment and Support 150

Lessons Learned about Substance Abuse 152

Chapter 10 Easing the Transition 153

Challenges Bring Life Lessons 158

Are You Extending Life or Extending Suffering? 161

Respect the Wishes of the Person Who Is Dying 162

Two Keys to Grief: Forgiveness and Permission 163

Lessons Learned about Doulas 164

Chapter 11 Just Breathe 165

Don't Get Stuck in Grief 169

How to Get Unstuck 170

Fulfill Your Lifelong Dreams 171

The Beginning of Widow 411 174

Make Yourself the Priority 175

Ask For Help 176

Choose How You Want to Live 176

A Light at the End of the Tunnel 177

Lessons Learned About Self-Care 178

Chapter 12 Building a New Beginning 179

Afterword 191

Acknowledgments 195

About the Authors 197

Resources 199

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