” 66% of Adults Say They Would Choose to Arrange Their Own Funeral Service, but Only 25% Have Already Made Pre-Arrangements.” Survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association in 2010.
“Nearly 40% of deaths are sudden and unexpected.” Source XX
Bringing up the topic is the hardest part. An advantage of having this conversation when family members are younger and healthier is the focus can be on leaving a legacy rather than the loss of life. Every family handles sensitive topics uniquely, therefore this conversation will be unique to each family. When loss occurs, many families reflect back on memories from the pre-planning experience and specific comments their loved one shared.
- Plan A Date to Talk. Set a designated time and start the conversation with a statement that demonstrates how much you care for your parents’ interests and the well-being of the family. Begin with “I know this may be an uncomfortable topic, but would you be open to talking about your funeral service and the ways you want to be remembered? When the time comes, I want to know that we are carrying out a ceremony that you wanted.”
- Discuss Favorite Traditions. Informally ask your parents about some of their favorite traditions and discuss how your family can continue these traditions for generations to come. Find a natural transition point to mention planning a memorial service that would honor them.
- Talk about your own funeral wishes and ask your parents for theirs. Gently reminding your parents that funeral services are an essential part of the grieving process and that preplanning would give you the advantage of focusing on remembering them and grieving instead of an emphasis on the details of planning that will be required.
Questions and Answers.
Your family is everything. So the last thing you’d want is to put them in a difficult position. A time of loss is a time of confusion, but your final arrangements don’t have to add to the uncertainty. Pre-planning your funeral services can save your loved ones from having to make decisions while they are grieving. And they won’t have to guess what you would want. Making pre-arrangements is the financially and emotionally thing to do. Instead of getting bogged down in details, your family will be able to focus on celebrating your life.
- Why are you considering pre-planning?
- How would you like your family to be involved in the process?
- Now that we know your wishes, what should we do next?
- Does this mean you anticipate needing a funeral soon?
Here are a few common reasons people pre-plan. These benefits could help guide your conversation.
- Even if it’s far into the future, you’ll assure that a difficult time is less stressful for your loved ones.
- When everything is determined in advance, families can focus on celebrating life, knowing that last wishes are perfectly fulfilled.
- Planning a funeral can require over 150 decisions, and making those choices now, together, can be an experience that brings families closer.
- Some people go so far as to pre-pay, and this is a gift to loved ones, because funerals often come at unexpected times. This act unburdens family members from what can be a sudden expense.