Source: Instagram, grandmabetty33

Call her InstaGranny! Betty Simpson, who goes by the Instagram handle Grandmabetty33, has become a social media marvel as she fights cancer and shares her adorable spirit with the world.

The account was created by Simpson's 18-year-old great-grandson so the family could monitor her progress. As of now she has over 85,000 followers (thanks in part to this ABC News story) and loves posting selfies, dancing to Pharrell William's hit song Happy and offering up tidbits of advice. Plus, naps with her adorable doggie:


Source: Instagram, grandmabetty33

It's always nice to see someone get positive attention on social media, but the part that struck us the most is the underlying reason why the great-grandson set up the account in the first place: To keep the family in the loop. It's easy to dismiss social media as a place with pointless gossip and mean opinions carelessly flying around; when used in GrandmaBetty88's manner it can connect families in a creative and fun way. Even if her account was only followed by eight people instead of 80,000 it'd still be a worthwhile endevaor for what it provides: Comfort for the family and an inspriational pick-me-up for the rest of us.

For those of you lucky enough with living Grandparents take note. It's never too late to get them to go digital.


Source: Instagram, grandmabetty33

 

A mother in England who recently died of cancer left her sons her iPad...but she didn’t leave them her username and password, rendering the expensive Apple tablet essentially worthless.

BBC News reports that Anthea Grant bought the iPad while she was undergoing treatment. Since her death her sons have been unable to unlock the device, even though they’ve provided Apple with a copy of her Will, death certificate and letter from an attorney. Apple also asked for a court order to prove Anthea was indeed the owner of the iPad and iTunes/iCloud account, which could cost the sons a large attorney fee.

Don’t Judge Apple So Fast

While it may seem like Apple is being unfair and heartless, their official policy states that you need written consent from the device owner for it to be unlocked. If the owner is no longer alive it’s impossible to get this consent. As of October, 2013 there have been 170,000,000 iPads sold worldwide. That’s a staggering number of iPads, which leads to huge market for theft and fraud.

While this case seems pretty clear cut, what if an iPad were stolen, the thief provided fake documentation and Apple unlocked it? Once word got out that Apple was duped by a con artist how secure would you feel using their products and services? All it takes is one person to ruin it for the other 169,999,999 of us.

Don’t Worry, This Story Has A Happy Ending

Since the story first ran, Apple has restored the device to factory settings but says they still require a court order to allow access to their late mother’s iCloud account, which could have personal documents, messages and photos. So while this one family’s issue is resolved, not every family can get a powerful media organization like the BBC to write a story about them and contact Apple to help resolve an issue.

In hindsight it seems obvious to write your username and password down somewhere, but at the time we’re sure the Grant family had much more pressing issues. Like dealing with cancer treatments, getting the really important affairs in order and saying goodbye to their mom forever. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to worry about the little things or contemplate the hassle awaiting them once they start to settle an estate.

How To Avoid The Same Hassle

Keep your login information somewhere safe and let someone you trust know where it is. We created Everplans for this purpose, but this isn’t about us. A service like ours can be helpful but it’ll never make dealing with death easy. We just hope to make it a little more manageable. So rather than waste time and energy dealing with Apple or other companies, get all this info stored somewhere safe--and update it every once in a while--so you don’t have to worry about it ever again.

Via BBC News

Walter George Bruhl Jr. lived a full life and shared it with the world on his terms by writing his own obituary. He died on March 9th of this year and his grandson honored him by sharing this must read summary of Mr. Bruhl’s life:


Source: Imgur

The charismatic and straight-shooting grandpa left fill-in-the-blanks on the print-out, making it easy for the family to complete the information and send it along to the local paper. You can read the final obituary here.

There’s so many great and memorable things throughout but our two favorite parts were these:

"There will be no viewing since his wife refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so he would appear natural to visitors."

“Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.”

If this inspired you to write your own obit, check out our death notice and obituary templates and start crafting your own personalized legacy today.

Via Imgur and The Cape Gazette

Now for a very important public safety announcement: Do not swallow a hanger! Luckily Indianapolis-based Morellis Cleaners was wise enough to put this warning on their deceptively lethal hangers to prevent possible ingesting. We know that product warning labels have gotten out of control, but at least this one made us laugh...and supplied yet another reason why everyone needs an Everplan.

From a post on Reddit: "Late last year the woman I love passed away from ovarian cancer. We used to play Minecraft together constantly. The last couple months, I've been working on building this - a giant memorial depicting her Minecraft avatar riding in a minecart. I finished it last night."

"She was diagnosed in July and was gone by Thanksgiving. It came on us out of nowhere, she didn't start exhibiting symptoms until she was already stage four.  I'm glad you all like it. Building it has been part of my coping process." --GasBandit


"In Memoriam, Pauline, 1972-2013, 'Chikii'"

Via Reddit

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast captures the frustration most people feel when trying to talk about death with their parents:

The family depicted thinks attempting to talk about planning is as good as talking about planning and both sides feel relieved, and somewhat exonerated, to not talk about it. There is no perfect way to have this often awkward conversation, especially since everyone's relationship with their parents is so different, but we're working on some articles to help out. The one positive to come from this: Somewhere in the cartoon/comic universe, Cathy would be proud.

Via New Yorker

Scarves can be our best friends. They keep our necks warm during a polar vortex, they allow women to display their impeccable style, they let us know which men to avoid at all costs. You know, the guy wearing one with a t-shirt because he thinks he’s a rockstar. (He’s not.) But what happens when this versatile fashionable friend turns deadly?

According to the BBC, a female commuter at a Montreal Metro station was strangled to death when her scarf got stuck in an escalator. No, this isn’t a new horror movie, or Stephen King novel, this really happened. According to police when she went to pry herself free her hair also got caught.

5 Tips and Takeaways From this Tragic Story

1. Even though escalators have become part of our everyday lives, you should still practice basic safety when riding one. For example: How many times have you been at a mall and witnessed how careless some people can be on these moving metal staircases with the ability to trap anything in their steely teeth? We’ve seen people putting their bags down, children sitting, people in scooters attempting to use them rather than wait for an elevator. We know the odds of dying on an escalator are slim, but do you think the woman in the story mentioned above thought she’d die on one?

2. Wear reasonably sized scarves. Maybe it’s because we live in New York, but it seems like scarves are getting way too big. You shouldn’t be wrapping an entire quilt around your neck.

3. Nothing you wear or own is worth your life. If your hat gets blown off while you’re riding a ferry, you don’t jump in the freezing water to retrieve it. The same goes for items of clothing getting caught in grinding gears. Don’t try to pull the item out! Instead do everything possible to get that item off of your body as quickly as possible. It might result in an awkward conversation with mall or mass transit security when they have to decommission the escalator for a bit, but it’s better than them having to deal with your dead body.

4. Don’t lean over a shredder or garbage disposal if you’re wearing a tie, because even David Copperfield, David Blaine and Criss Angel on their best days can’t escape from that.

5. We know commuting can be a mind-numbing drag, but always be vigilant. Whether you take a train, bus, drive, or are lucky enough to walk to work, it’s easy to let your mind wander or become distracted so always keep the following things in mind:

  • Don’t get too close to the edge of the train platform. It doesn’t help you get on the train any faster. If anything, it makes you look rude for not letting the people off first.
  • Hold on to something when the bus is moving. You never know when the bus will stop short, tossing you like a ragdoll down the aisle.
  • If you don't have hands-free capabilities, no texting or checking emails while driving, even if you’re stuck in traffic. Ever! If you see someone doing this you have our permission to pull them over and smash their phone. (Ed. Note: We do not condone illegal activity...that said, if you happen to do this please send us a video of it.)
  • While walking on the street, don’t let headphones become too big a distraction. We know the song playing in your ears is your own personal soundtrack for an awesome movie starring you, but all it takes is one careless step off the curb and it’s all over.

Why We Care

What would your family and friends do if a fatal accident happened to you, apart from being really sad? We’re currently devoting our lives to making sure people have all their important documents and plans in order if the unexpected, or the expected, strikes. An untimely death is always horrible, but so is leaving a mess behind for your grieving loved ones. So take a few minutes and get acquainted with our service. Plus, after you have a plan in place, it’ll be one less thing to worry about.

Trivia Fun Fact: "The first patent relating to an escalator-like machine was granted in 1859 to a Massachusetts man for a steam driven unit." [Source: History of the Escalator]

Via BBC and TheStar.com


A man whose father is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease wrote Carol Burnett a touching letter, which you should definitely read here.

Dop Troutman recalls idolizing The Carol Burnett Show as a child, and would jokingly refer to her as his girlfriend. Even though Alzheimer’s has taken most of his father’s memories away, this past Thanksgiving while watching Burnett receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center on TV, it sparked a memory in his father...you know, we can’t spoil it. Just read the letter, please. Then prepare yourself, possibly with some tissues, for the equally touching response.

Those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s know that moments of clarity can be hard to come by, making any recollection, no matter how seemingly insignificant, a cause for hope and celebration. It lets you know that, deep down, the person you love is still there, no matter how much suffering the disease may cause.

We love to see more stories like this, so if you have any please share them in the comments or click the “Feedback” box on the right hand side of the page and send us a message. We’re also happy to see Burnett still entertaining the world after all these years. Even though Hawaii Five-0 did give her a brain tumor for Thanksgiving. (Thankfully, it was only fiction.)

Resources: Alzheimer’s Association

However you honor your faith or religion is fine by us. We’re not here to judge. We’re here to make sure you plan. So, if you believe handling deadly, poisonous snakes puts you on the path to righteousness, please get all your important papers and documents together first.

Recently, Kentucky Pentecostal pastor and star of National Geographic’s Snake Salvation Jamie Coots was doing his customary serpent handling when he was bitten by a rattlesnake, refused treatment and died. 

The thinking behind snake handling is quite simple: God will protect you from deadly snakes. If you get bitten he will protect you from the venom. If you die, it was God’s will. According to TMZ, it’s illegal to handle snakes in Kentucky:

"Any person who displays, handles or uses any kind of reptile in connection with any religious service or gathering shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100."

This makes sense from a public safety perspective, because these snakes could escape and go on a neighborhood rampage. Or worse, buy plane tickets…


Samuel L. Jackson has had it with these Snakes on a Plane jokes.

Coots’, who had been bitten numerous times in the past, refused medical treatment and died on February 15th at the age of 42.

While we’re not reptile handling enthusiasts--apart from garden snakes and non-poisonous ones being handled by a professional in a secure environment--we implore anyone who is to do an Everplan first. What are the benefits for snake handlers...and non-snake handlers?

  • Advance Directive: Make your medical decisions absolutely clear to your family and loved ones. In the case of snake handlers, who put no faith in modern medicine, you want a DNR and you don't want any treatment at all. Ever.
  • Will: Who gets all your snakes when you're gone? Name snake guardians.
  • Life Insurance: If you handle snakes regularly, this probably isn't a factor. But if you found a company to insure you, and you can afford the astronomical premiums, where's the policy?

After you've documented all of this, plus information about utilities, digital accounts and funeral preferences, then feel free to pick up as many cobras and rattlers as you want.

For those curious about the world of snake handling, check out ABC Nightline's report below:

Via TMZ

It’s bad enough when hackers steal credit card information from shopping sites, but now they’re targeting grieving friends and families, according to a news report from WTSP.com (@WTSP10News).

This faux email, which they claim has been sent to possibly millions of random innocent people, invites them to a “celebration of your friends life.” The really devious part is that it’s sent from a legitimate funeral home and the way it tries to get you to click on the link:

“Please find invitation and more detailed information about the farewell ceremony here.”

If you click on the the word “here” your computer will most likely be infected with a virus.

These phishing scams are meant to be clever and look real. This is no exception, especially since they’re using a real Texas funeral home, which has smartly posted a notice on their website to alert everyone of the scam.

I’m not surprised hackers would exploit death for their own purposes. But it’s upsetting they’re targeting the grieving as well as an industry many already judge negatively based on speculation. At least we can take heart in the fact that this isn’t a funeral industry scandal, but yet another thing to be aware of in the digital world.

My Brilliant Guru Advice: BE CAREFUL and don’t open sketchy emails!

Via WTSP.com