Three Things I Learned from the Death of My Sister

Dying Rose on the Snow BackgroundIt’s the call you don’t want to get. ‘Trent…you need to get to Atlanta. Shay has taken a turn for the worse.’

I was in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport about to board a plane to New Orleans for Christmas when I got the call from my dad. Shay had fought sarcoma cancer for 12 years. In a way she had the upper hand….she knew her chances to live to be an old woman were slim. So, she lived everyday like it was her last.

After her death we spent three days before her funeral helping my brother-in-law put the pieces together. Here are a few things I learned during that time:

  • Passwords: Shay ran the family finances. She had all of the passwords to all of the accounts…in her head. In the end, my brother-in-law was able to gain access to the bank and other accounts, but it took a lot of time and effort. Make sure your partner, or another person you trust, knows how to access all of the accounts in your absence.
  • Have one place for important documents: Having your life insurance policies, wills, trusts, and another important documents in one place prevents your loved ones from having to search through boxes, drawers, and other places in your home or office. A home safe or a safety deposit box are great places to store important documents.
  • Have a will: This will make sure your wishes after death are carried out. Shay had a will, but it didn’t include where she wanted to be buried or how she wanted the ceremony to go. Include all of your wishes in your will.

It's been 808 days since Shay passed (from the day I wrote this). She was a great person. I miss her. But, I believe God had a plan for her. Shay’s personality blew up a room! She was strong, knew what she wanted, and fought until she got it. She was always the loudest person in the room and stood strong in her beliefs. Shay left a positive mark on this world. We could all apply a little of her life to ours. We can also learn a lot from her death.

If I can be of help to you, please feel free to reach out to me at

Love like today is your last,



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