Personal pandemic preparedness. Organizing information for those you love – Harris N. Hershey Rosen

by Harris N. “Hershey” Rosen

Part of what every author does is “get the word out” about their book – so for the past year authors have been a bit constrained from the usual public speaking gigs, book signings and media opportunities. I suspect that will slowly return to normal, or a new normal will be established. Will people come out to group events? Are we so wedded to our computers and our ZOOMs now that public get togethers for authors and those who love to read and learn will dwindle? If so, how will we reach out to each other?

We’ve all had a bit of a hiatus, haven’t we? One thing is clear, no one had a plan for this. Not even the best emergency plan or 3-month savings for a rainy day could have anticipated the times we’ve just been through.

We’ve seen the holes in our plan – yet plan we must. As specialists have said, this is not the end of pandemics – they’ve happened throughout history and the next one might be in our lifetime. So we should plan. The next one might be in our children’s lifetime – so we should plan – for them. Maybe it won’t be a pandemic, but it could be a cybersecurity disaster, a utility disaster, etc. Will we be ready? Will those we love be able to pick up and move on as seamlessly as we can make it for them?

A time to reflect, to reassess, to rethink. Much of what we were doing will come back just the way it was – but much will change. A sense of mortality seems to have reached deep into us.

And a time to organize our wishes and information looms near. For those who want to control things, this will be right up your alley. To those who know they can’t control things, it might come as reasonable steps. But what is clear is the time to do these things – to make our own personal record for those we love – is past time. It’s time was – yesterday.

My book was begun when I was an older age. It’s a time when life’s wishes and concern for others becomes more prominent in our minds. But it could – and should – happen at any time in life. Because death or serious illness, as we know, is not restricted to age. The pandemic has equaled out this risk for all of us. Young people have seen mortality up close and personal. Parents of young children have, too. For those who care for others with disabilities or challenges of one kind or another, and those who are caring for aging parents and relatives it’s been especially urgent to plan. The need for family to take over and continue on with their lives can come without warning. But we have all been warned, now, and there’s time to be prepared – that time starts today.

The concepts haven’t changed much that are in my book – just the urgency to help all of you to compile your own information. I’ll be sharing some of my public speaking I’ve done over the years. This one was with NBC10, with a young reporter. I have to say that at the time I spoke with Emily, she had just been married and I could see the wheels turning in her own mind – “gee, does my husband know these things he’d need to know?” It’s a question for all of us to ask ourselves about those closest to us – so I’m happy to share that interview again…

My interview with Emily Volz of NBC10 News:

Have you thought more about Funeral Arrangements and end of life planning?

I have had upsetting moments in my life, but nothing prepared me for a visit to the funeral home to make arrangements for my mother. It was the first time I was in that situation, and I felt unnerved, on edge and vulnerable.

Yet decisions had to be made. I was with my father, but he was so distressed e was unable to think clearly. I vowed, right then and there, that in the future, it was important not to do this alone. And I didn’t; when the time came, my sister accompanied me to the funeral home, and I felt a sense of comfort because we did it together. That’s what you are doing with this book – making decisions as a family – and I will lead you through the tough discussions and help you document all the details.

In the pandemic, funerals were delayed and mini-services were held where wishes were not followed and families were not comforted. It is unlikely we will face such a time in our lifetimes – again. So have the discussion with each other. The talk of death and dying is easier to have when we’ve all known friends and family we have lost.

I hope my book helps you in this process. You are why I wrote it. And your loved ones are why you should consider developing your guide – in this lifetime anything can happen. Be family-ready. Heck, who ever thought we would be dealing with a pandemic? Sometimes you just can’t plan for every life scenario. Sometimes you just can’t be ready for what fate will throw at you. But we can do the best we can – for those we love.


Harris “Hershey” Rosen, is the author of WHY? Because I Love You, a book that says it like it is – “What you need to know when I die”. His book details methods to organize your important personal and family information for those who are left behind.

A graduate of Harvard, Hershey Rosen has focused on controlling chaos since 1954. He was a Financial Control Officer in the U.S. Army, where he received a Letter of Commendation for improvement to its worldwide accounting system. Next, on to satisfying everyone’s sweet tooth, he ran a candy company for 40 years, developing a system for locating ANY item housed in five factories, covering 600,000 square feet.

Following “retirement,” Hershey went on to become a mediator and settled over 200 disputes for the state of Rhode Island and The Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. He was also asked to team-teach management courses at the University of Rhode Island, where he enthusiastically challenged the text book with real-life experiences, to the delight and edification of the students.

Always passionate about assisting others, Hershey has been a director or trustee of numerous boards and organizations. He has written Creating A Guide So Your Loved Ones Can Go On Living! to help others protect their spouses (and families) from the intense stress that will occur if one does not share financial information and knowledge critical to a functioning home. He then wrote My Family Record Book, expanding on the information in his first book, and finally, in 2020, WHY? Because I Love You was published.

Hershey, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, can now relax (ha!) with his beloved wife, Myrna, and enjoy visits with their combined five children and ten grandchildren.

“WHY? Because I Love You” – available here: