Death is never easy to discuss. But, an unexpected tragedy in 2006 is inspiring an alum of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington to erase the stigma. “My mother and I were very close,” says Barbara Bates Sedoric, explaining that she set-out on a shopping trip, just hours after she’d spoken to her mom. “My cell phone rang, I was on the highway. My brother said two words. He said, ‘Mom’s dead,’ and immediately your adrenaline starts flowing, grief sets-in.” Despite their constant conversations and years as confidantes, the following days turned chaotic, filled with questions. Now, Sedoric hopes a journal she created will aid other families in planning for the inevitable.
“There were a lot of things we’d never asked my mother…and really we didn’t know how to honor her,” says Sedoric, of Rye, N.H. “Was mom an organ donor? Did she want to be cremated or buried? Did she want a funeral service or memorial service?” After getting through this confusing time, looking for documents and soul searching for answers, this graduate of Connecticut College and former paralegal, specializing in estates and trusts, recognized a huge problem and set-out on a journey, talking to people and compiling stories. Years of work resulted in “The LastingMatters Organizer,” a fillable guide, unique to the market due to it’s mixture of legal, financial and practical topics.
Users are prompted to record passwords and personal wishes. “What do you want to happen to your art collection? Or, what happens to the pets?” asks this mother of three, who believes it’s a particularly important tool for Alzheimer’s patients. Launched in May, the book has been featured on New Hampshire Public Radio and journalist Maria Shriver’s website. “End-of-life and death are not something people like to talk about,” says Sedoric, intending for the concept to spark productive conversations between families or private reflection. “You can quietly fill it out and tell your spouse or your child or a parent that you’ve done it and it’s there when they need it.” The self-published guide, available on Sedoric’s website (www.lastingmatters.com) as a hard copy or a downloadable PDF, must be stored in a safe place, such as an attorney’s office.
Sedoric will share her story during a speaking engagement in September at Miss Porter’s, a special place for her family, where both she and her mom were students and on the board of trustees. “I think she’d be very excited and proud about ‘The LastingMatters Organizer’ and my ability to help other people,” says Sedoric, recalling her mother’s love of life. “That makes me happy. I know that she’s with me.”