What we do:
The overall charter of the Bereavement Committee is to provide compassionate assistance after a crewmember’s death in any way the surviving family deems fit. Generally, this involves guiding the survivors through the benefits process and preparing them for the many changes that come with this life-changing event. The central document we use is the Surviving Spouse/Beneficiary Guide which walks the survivor through procedural steps during the first month after a crewmember’s death. It is basically an easy-to-read and understand expanded checklist that helps minimize the feeling that they may be missing an important step.
The first contact from the Committee to your family is generally two to three days after a service or within a week of a crewmember’s death. We often work directly with a spouse, family member, family friend or your Casualty Assistant Liaison (CAL)—whichever is most beneficial to your survivor.
Those who work on the Bereavement Committee are cross-trained in Critical Incident Response (CIRP), pilot assistance and grief counseling.
What you can do:
One of the best ways you can help is to designate a Casualty Assistant Liaison (CAL) in the FedEx system. While on pilot.fedex.com, log into VIPS and search "Casualty." A form comes up that allows you to input either a Company employee and/or the information of an outside family member or friend. Please make sure your survivors are familiar with your selection. The importance of having someone with whom your family is comfortable can't be understated. Make sure your CAL knows they are your CAL. You might be surprised to know that only about half of crewmembers have designated a CAL.
Planning: Death can be overwhelming for us to consider. It's pretty normal for people to want to avoid thinking about it. However, in the event that you die unexpectedly, you can help reduce the confusion and stress for your family will by preparing a "Farewell file" with at least some of the following information.
- If you would like a copy of the Surviving Spouse/Beneficiary guide and inventory, it is available below.
- An updated Last Will and Testament, Living Will, and Durable Power of Attorney- even if you use software to prepare it yourself, something is better than nothing.
- Your Casualty Assistant Liaison (CAL) information.
- Possibly your organ donation wishes and burial wishes.
- A copy of your marriage license, which will help your spouse on non-joint account issues.
- Copies of life insurance documents, especially if they are not through FedEx or ALPA.
- An updated list of your beneficiaries at FedEx and other benefits providers.
- If you have served in the military, military contact and a copy of your discharge papers.
- If you pay the bills, a list of time critical bills and non-monthly large bills.
- A list of credit card customer service numbers if the cards are not jointly held.
- A list of business contacts and your involvement if you own a company.
- A list of important online accounts. Consider recording passwords.
A list of other financial institutions. Consider making them joint accounts or Payable on Death (POD), which will greatly increase the access to your accounts.
Inform your spouse or next of kin of both the location of the file and the existence and purpose of our Bereavement Committee. Consider this preparation a gift to your survivors so they can concentrate on grieving rather than where to locate paperwork.
Any time you see an FCIF about a crewmember's death, know that the Bereavement Committee is there to help the survivors. We, along with the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRP), are on FedEx management's contact list and action plan when a death occurs. As the adage goes, "help us help you." Preparing for your death can be sobering. Your family will take some comfort in their grieving process if they have a general handle on where to find important information and have the Bereavement Committee standing by to compassionately help them.
Having worked with many spouses in the days and weeks following a crewmember's death, it is clear that families who have planned and prepared are certainly better able to cope, at least in practical matters. A small amount of effort from every crewmember can help ensure a small measure of peace of mind to your loved ones should the unthinkable happen.