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  • Maria Cho

Four Ways to Say I Love You

Updated: May 1, 2020

We all think a lot about how to live well. I’d like to talk about increasing our chances of dying well and about how to have a good pre-need plan. 


As a funeral director, many families have called me broken-hearted telling me their stories during this coronavirus pandemic.  The families cannot see their loved ones who are dying in the convalescent homes. The Catholic priest could not enter into the convalescent home to give their mother her anointing of the sick. We only could pray for her spiritually. So many families are broken-hearted. 


All the cemeteries are closed and you cannot even plan to buy resting places. Those who have made pre-need plans with me, however, have some peace of mind during these difficult times.  They have already purchased a place to rest. Some people are realizing now that they should plan ahead. Although, there were wise people who saw this expense and only paid $200 for 8 plots 63 years ago. Their payment was $10 a month. Now the children of these wise people have peace of mind and they are very happy and thankful. 


There are many lessons to be learned during this pandemic. This is the first time in my life where I experienced such sadness.  One daughter has a mother who is 103 years old and is in the hospital. The mother is receiving hospice-care right now. Age doesn’t matter. It is her loving mother whom she spent 50 years living with.  She was crying saying that she missed her mother and wishes she could stay next to her. 


Every single day, I got a call from someone. “I wish I can stay next to my loved one who is dying.” Good thing there are many doctors and nurses who are giving their heart and soul. I am proud and thankful of these doctors and nurses.  


  1. Make a plan when you are young and tell your loved ones your wishes. Most people say, “I want to die at home.” Sadly, 80% of people die at a nursing home or hospital. Where do you want to be when you’re no longer independent? 


I think about my friend who is the kindest person I have ever met.  May she rest in peace. Ever since she found out she had cancer-stage four, she had the courage to prepare for a good end and accept her end. She realized the doctors could do nothing for her, and she decided to stay at home. 

  1. Recruit Advocates. 


Her two sons took turns staying with their mom for a good two months, taking good care of her. They gave her medication around the clock and provided her with delicious foods.   


  1. Choose Caregivers- You’re going to need caregivers. 

20 years ago, she planned her own funeral and prepared her last wishes. She wanted to make everything easy for her two sons.  She loved to help the poor and was very generous. She didn’t even let anyone know about her good deeds. I think that’s why she passed away so peacefully and with special care from God. In my experience people who are good, die peacefully. Sadly it is the honest truth. And only 5% of people die like her these days. This is what the hospice nurse said to the family. 


  1. Last Words


In her final days, I asked her, “Why are you so generous to people?”


She said, “What comes around goes around. Even when I pass away, my good actions will pass over as blessings to my children. That’s why I want to live well and help poor people around me” 


“Is there anything you want to tell me?” I asked. She said: “Don’t hate anyone. When you hate someone, you are bringing bad luck into the world. Don’t make small complaints and don’t hate anyone. There isn’t enough time in this world for hate.” 


So when you are young and healthy, it is important to tell your family members: “I love you.” Try your best to love them by giving them a plan.  Planning the end of life qualifies us to have a better chance of maintaining our quality of life. 


Maria Cho is an experienced funeral planner with over 20 years of service. She has been living in Glendora since 1990 and has helped families and the community with her heart. Please call for a free consultation at (310)987-0736. 



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