Talking about death is uncomfortable. Talking about your own death… that’s even more uncomfortable and awkward. We have all lost a loved one and experienced the emotional and mental stress that accompanies it. With each loss comes decisions and final arrangements. Planning the funeral, the mass, the breakfast, and even the flowers can be exhausting. And it happens during a very emotional time with tremendous stress on the family.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?
The emotional grieving of a loved one can never be minimized, however you can minimize the stress your loved ones will experience upon your death. The choice to pre-plan your funeral before death or illness allows your family to grieve properly without worrying about the details.
If you haven’t thought about pre-planning your funeral, here are 5 reasons you should plan it while you are healthy, unemotional and in control.
Ease the Emotional Burden
The loss of a loved one is never easy. It is a hard reality to accept. The passing of a loved one creates high emotions, high stress and high sensitivity. During this time your family is expected to make MANY decisions. Anything from minuscule ones such as color of flowers, all the way to big decisions like whether to be cremated, buried, or where your final resting place will be.
This can be extremely tough on a family because they may be blindly deciding what you would have wanted. They may question what type of casket you would want or what specific flowers. Some feel if they choose the wrong choice, they are doing a disservice to your memory.
Do you want to put your family through that worry?
Help ease the emotional burden on your loved ones. Plan your funeral and all of the details from the flowers, the funeral home, church mass or memorial service, what type of casket, who will be the pall bearers – you name it. Plan it all out, put it in writing and share this with your loved ones.
It will be awkward and uncomfortable to talk about when you are still alive and healthy. However, it is even more difficult if you are not there or are unable to share your wishes. No one can be a mind reader. Planning out all of the details will help your family concentrate on whats most important… coming together to celebrate your life and grieve their loss.
Ensure Your Wishes Are Carried Out
No one knows you better than yourself. After thinking about your wishes, you can hand select where you want the service to be done and by who, what type of service, where you’d like your family to have a funeral breakfast or any other detail you can think of or care about.
Laying it all out and explaining it to your family allows you to make these decisions while you are healthy and thinking clearly. It also gives you the peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out after you are gone. This can help your family simplify the process and consolidate their efforts.
Prevent Family Drama
Confrontation and tension may arise once a family member has become ill or passed. Feelings of jealousy, built-up resentment or anger can surface during this stressful time. This is not what anyone hopes to happen once they are gone. While you can’t guarantee that family tension won’t occur, you can do everything in your power to prevent it.
Part of this is pre-arranging your final wishes. Feel free to personalize any explanations of your requests. Then clarify why you chose what you did. From selecting readings, to pall bearers, to personal letters to your loved ones, you will have time to discuss these matters carefully while everyone is thinking clearly. Your personal instructions to your family can ease any resentment, jealousy or anger that may be festering within.
The worst part of losing a loved one is never being able to talk or communicate feelings with them again. You are left without explanations or closure where it is needed. This early preparation will help prevent family drama. You will also have peace of mind knowing that you took the appropriate steps to keep your family together.
Ease the Financial Burden
Pre-planning helps with the emotional side of a loss but there is also a way to help with the financial burden. Some individuals pre-pay their funeral costs. It is a great idea to take care of this expense before it is needed.
With the average funeral costing around $8,000, this can be a lot for your family to take on – especially if it is unexpected. If you want to ensure that your funeral costs don’t create a financial burden for your family, consider pre-paying these expenses directly. Funeral homes have a few options for this. Once you decide on which funeral home, you can discuss the alternatives and options with the funeral director.
Either way, planning exactly what you want for your funeral will clarify any lingering questions around the costs. This gives you the ability to control costs and keep your final expenses within a reasonable budget. Some funeral directors have a tendency to play on your family’s emotions after you are gone. This may cost your family substantially more than you would have selected for yourself.
Allow Your Friends and Family to Celebrate You
Finally, the fifth reason to plan your final wishes before you die is to allow your friends and family to celebrate you and their memories of you. This is so important in the grieving process. Too often we can get caught up in the stress, details and “what now?” scenarios that celebrating special memories and the fun times can be overshadowed. Removing the uncertainties and stress will allow your loved ones to grieve properly and honor your life. For most people, this is what they would prefer.
Be proactive while you’re healthy and your family is not under emotional stress. The 5 reasons above should convince you of the benefits of pre-planning. Removing the emotional and financial stress on your loved ones before the problems arise will help them to better handle this difficult situation.
It is much easier on your family to know that what they are doing is exactly how you would have planned it… because you did!
We specialize in helping individuals and families clarify these issues. If you’d like to discuss this topic further, call and schedule a free consultation at 716-662-4470.