Funeral planning isn’t something that many of us like to think about, whether it’s pre-planned decisions that need to be made for a funeral for ourselves or for someone else.
It’s easy to put it to the back of our minds and just think that we’ll tackle those obstacles as and when they are forced upon us, or when it comes to our own funeral, our loved ones will sort everything out on our behalf.
There may be the odd brief and awkward conversation, perhaps with an aging relative, about whether they would prefer to be buried or cremated following their passing, what they would like to happen with their remains, and what sort of memorial they would like.
As people age and come to terms with death they may find peace with it, and often want to voice their funeral and memorial preferences with passing comments – at times in a humorous tone.
Even still, the nitty-gritty details of end-of-life planning can be difficult to address, especially when it feels such a long way from becoming reality.
As we grow older, some people begin to feel more accepting and welcoming to the idea of being able to plan their own funeral – or at least, certain aspects of it that they believe are most important or that they feel most passionate about.
It’s probably fair to say that anything that needs planning is always better planned when time is aplenty, rather than during a crisis or at a rushed pace.
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What Can You Do to Help a Loved One Plan Their Funeral?
The best way to start helping someone else plan for their own funeral is through simple conversation.
But we appreciate that’s easier said than done as starting a discussion about death is a difficult hurdle for most to overcome.
The stigma attached to conversations about death is difficult to shake off – talking about death somehow has a knack of making the event seem a lot closer and hammers home the fact that it’s real, even if we have no idea when it will actually arrive.
This is likely to be the main reason so many people avoid the conversation of death and funeral planning.
So, how can you get the conversation about end-of-life plans going?
Having the Conversation About Death
Each time we visit an aging parent or grandparent, it’ll never seem like the right time to bring up death.
“It’s lovely to see you again. Why don’t we talk about your funeral?”
It’ll take a certain type of personality to take this topic of conversation in their stride. Of course, some will happily oblige as they may have already come to terms with the fact, but the majority are likely to want to quickly steer the chat elsewhere.
The key for most is to gently approach the topic in a way that allows people to see the benefits of discussing their end of life plans so that all of their wishes can be carried out exactly as they would like, regardless of how much further down the line that may happen to be.
Opening the door to these meaningful conversations will allow you to better understand your loved one’s wishes for saying goodbye.
Most people have an idea as to how they would like their life to be commemorated once they have passed away, but seldom are those wishes openly shared with others in detail. These thoughts are often kept inside our minds until it is too late and there is no longer the opportunity for them to be shared with those who will be arranging and carrying out the funeral.
Perhaps you have already played a part in the planning of a funeral just a matter of weeks after someone you know has died. If so, you’ll be aware of the stress and anxiety that it can place on the family and those involved in the planning.
If the deceased had made plenty of their wishes known, you’ll understand how tremendously helpful this can be.
Likewise, if there were no wishes or preferences left at all, then it results in the funeral planners having to make many important decisions – these decisions can often divide opinion and place even more stress onto the family during an already very difficult time.
Questions to Ask During a Conversation About Funeral Planning
Whether you’re seeking funeral wishes from a loved one or trying to find a way to relay your own funeral wishes to someone else, there are some big decisions to be made clear.
Asking questions about certain aspects of the funeral can help trigger further conversation, in turn providing you with further valuable information that you can use to ensure their funeral is exactly as they would like.
Some of the biggest choices that can shape a funeral and ensure everything is set out exactly as the deceased had hoped include:
- Do they want a cremation or a traditional burial?
- Where would they like their remains to be buried or scattered?
- Would they like some input on their memorial and/or epitaph?
- Do they want a funeral service?
- Is there anyone in particular they would appreciate giving a speech?
- Are there any songs they would like played?
- Do they have any favourite flowers they would like used throughout the funeral?
- Would they like any donations collected and paid to a specific charity?
- Are there any other wishes they would like to share in relation to their funeral and being laid to rest?
Helping to Plan a Loved One’s Funeral is a Blessing
Being able to help plan a loved one’s funeral so that it meets their every wish is a blessing that not many people are awarded.
It will take a significant amount of worry, decision-making and work out of the process for the funeral planners. Family and close friends are sure to feel a sense of comfort knowing that the deceased had significant input to make sure everything is as they had wished.
End of Life Planning Can Begin at Any Age
Planning for a funeral doesn’t have to be based on whether a family member is healthy, ill, or old.
People can begin to consider their end-of-life planning at any age.
Planning For a Funeral in Your 20s & 30s
In may seem unfathomable to consider what your funeral may look like in your 20s or 30s as this appears to be an early age for such considerations, but it is during these years that many are typically getting married, having children, and settling down into a new family-life.
This would be a sensible time for people to take stock of their situation and begin to take a long, hard look at the future security of their family.
This might involve setting up or monitoring existing savings accounts, pensions, and life insurance policies, so considering a few key preliminary end-of-life plans and choices also makes sense.
Planning For a Funeral in Your 40s & 50s
In our 40s and 50s, the physical signs of aging become more and more apparent, we start to take retirement plans more seriously, and we have generally slowed down quite a lot compared to the frantic pace of life for most 20-somethings.
We generally begin to know more and more people who have been affected by bouts of unexpected serious illness, and for many, the number of funerals we attend start to compete, or even outnumber, the number of weddings we attend each year.
We become more aware of later life approaching us – including just how fast the months seem to pass us by compared to our younger years!
This naturally brings people to consider their funeral or memorial ideas, if only from time to time.
Planning For a Funeral in Your 60s
The 60s is when things really begin to escalate further in terms of retirement planning.
People in their 60s will be meeting with financial planners and making or tweaking life insurance arrangements as part of their retirement plans.
The eventual switch from retirement planning into retirement itself provides another perfect opportunity for those who haven’t already done so to consider end-of-life planning before sitting down with loved ones to discuss what they would like to happen.
Benefits of Discussing Funeral Plans With a Loved One
Coming to terms with the inevitability of death is difficult enough – it’s the reason so many people suffer with a fear of death, some even suffering with Thanatophobia, which is an intense fear of death or dying – so how could there possibly be any benefits to talking about it?
Let us tell you.
Discussing funeral wishes and plans with a loved one will make the entire process a lot smoother to organise and easier for the family to cope with in time.
Though there will surely be sadness and many tears shed before, during and after the funeral, recognising that the funeral and all arrangements were made with the blessing of those being honoured will eventually bring peace and contentment.
It will provide the funeral with a personal touch from the person who has passed, rather than being a day full of rushed decisions that family members had to make on their behalf.
That in itself can provide a powerful comfort and is the reason why there are great benefits in discussing funeral plans with a loved one.
If you’re looking for experienced memorial stonemasons in Penarth or surrounding areas of the Vale of Glamorgan to help you honour your loved one with the perfect memorial, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of family experts here at Wilson Morgan. Contact us today to receive our specialist memorial advice and guidance by calling 02920 704949, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing our simple online contact form.