Rachel Donnelly went through a rough period during which she lost one after another of people dear to her; she now says she values what she learned during that time. “When I was 16, my father passed away at the age of 48. A few years later, we moved my grandmother to an assisted living home, where she passed shortly thereafter,” Donnelly recalled. “Several years later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. My mother’s passing left me with five houses to clean out and sell, as well as assuming her role as caregiver for my uncle, who was in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. Last fall, my uncle passed away and I assumed the role of co-executrix of his estate. Some days I’ve felt like a real-life Little Orphan Annie whose life should be subtitled ‘Death Becomes Her.’”
Each time, she realized that in the midst of grief, there is a lot to be done—a memorial to be planned, belongings to be disposed of, insurance forms to be filed, death certificate applications to be completed, notifications to be sent to organizations the deceased was associated with, a will to be executed, and often much more. Donnelly founded her Decatur-based business, Black Dress Consultants, LLC, to help families through the administrative side of death. “We can take tasks off your plate, so you have space to grieve,” she said. “Our mission is to serve families as an ally for legacy planning and as a guide for navigating end-of-life decisions.”
Read the full feature from the DeKalb Champion Paper by Kathy Mitchell here.