My father is in the last stages of his terminal illness. It has been an emotional time because my father is such a special, caring man. We all love him so much and it is so hard saying goodbye or letting him go. He recently told us he has a special request for his friends and family, in lieu of flowers at his services. We want to honor his request appropriately, but aren’t sure of the right way to do so. We’d love to have your guidance.
He has 11 grandchildren, all who have special relationships with him and adore him. His youngest grandson; however, has significant special needs, including autism and several developmental delays. My dad’s heart has always been in helping his grandson as much as possible and he dedicated so much of himself to helping his grandson receive the care he needs. It’s always been a concern for the entire family and frustrating as the resources he requires are limited and expensive. He expressed his desire to us that in lieu of flowers, it would mean so much to him if his friends and family made a donation to the continued care and therapy for his grandson. We’d like to honor his request in the manner he intended. Is it possible to set up some sort of memorial fund that his family and friends can make a donation to that is designated for his grandson and ensures the funds will go towards therapy and treatment expenses? What is the best way to do this in an appropriate manner? We appreciate your guidance very much!
I am so sorry that you are in the difficult period of seeing your father at the end of his life. That is so tough, but he certainly is a special man to be thinking of how he can continue to help his grandson after he is gone. You are very lucky to have such a wonderful man for a father.
To answer your question – there are a few options you can pursue. It is totally appropriate to request donations in lieu of flowers. The common mechanism these days is to setup a GoFundMe account, but there is no guarantee to people that the funds they contribute would be used for the grandson’s care.
Another option is go to your bank (or your dad’s bank) and talk to them about setting up a Memorial Bank Account for the purpose you have described. This would allow people to send donations directly to the bank, and perhaps give them assurance that the money would be used for the boy’s care. You and another trustworthy person would have signature authority on the account. You would do this now – before your dad passes, so that you can include the information (where to send the donation) in the obituary where you have “in lieu of flowers, please send……” and you can state exactly what your father wanted. This still isn’t a guarantee to people of how their money would be used, but it gives more of a trustworthy feel to it.
I hope this was helpful, and cherish every moment you have left with your father – there is nothing more valuable than that.