The advice about pre-planning your funeral long before you think you might need them is solid. Pre-planning your funeral service can save your loved ones the uncertainty and hardship they might have if they try to do it once you’ve passed. Pre-planning can ensure that your wishes will be met and that you’re laid to rest as you wish. Perhaps most importantly, funeral pre-planning ensures that your loved ones will have the time they need to grieve.
Even though all of those things are true, it can be difficult to think about end of life plans. No one wants to think about their own death. Some people think it’s morbid. Some can’t help but get emotional whenever they think about it–and that can be uncomfortable. It can be sad to think about your own funeral. It can be unbearable to think about leaving your loved ones behind.
If you hesitate when it comes to thinking about pre-planning your funeral, you’re not alone. But there are some things you can think about, even if you’re not ready to speak to a funeral director to pre-plan your services.
Think About Pre-Planning The Music You’d Like to Have
One easy way to start thinking about pre-planning your funeral is to think about just one aspect of the service: music. Do you have songs you love that you hope will be included in your service? Are there songs you absolutely don’t want played at your funeral or celebration of life?
Thinking about which music you want at your service and why can help you clarify your service in small ways. For instance, if you love the hymns On Angel’s Wings and Ave Maria, you might be planning a Catholic funeral. In that case, you know that you need pallbearers and readers.
If you let one small part of your thinking lead to another, you can sketch out elements of the funeral service you want without making a formal plan.
Think About Pre-Planning the Flowers You Want at Your Funeral
The same is true with flowers, which are a staple at most funerals and memorial services. Do you want a traditional spray or something a little more unique? Would you like everyone to take a flower on their way out as a small remembrance of you? Or maybe you’d like everyone to bring a stem of their favorite flower to make a bouquet that’s as unique as you are.
Talking to your loved ones about what kinds of flowers you want and why might help them, even if you leave the rest of the planning to them. For instance, if you tell them you want wildflowers in small mason jars, they might decide to give everyone who attends your service a pack of wildflower seeds. The intention might be that those friends and loved ones plant those seeds and think of you whenever they bloom. But if you hadn’t told them you prefer wildflowers to roses, they may have never thought of such a lovely gesture.
Think About Funeral Pre-Planning: Finances
Of course, we think it’s smart to work with a reputable funeral director to pre-plan your funeral. But even if you don’t work with a funeral director formally, you can establish an account with your bank that can be used to pay for your services when you pass. Alternately, you can be sure your attorney knows how you’d like those finances handled, and ensure that they are in contact with your loved ones immediately to advise them of your plans.
It can be as hard to talk to family about money as it is to talk about death. Combine the two and it might seem impossible. But you can think about it without making formal plans. You can speak with a trusted, reputable funeral home to understand how much your funeral and burial wishes will cost. You can prepay for services (especially with us, because your money is safe).
Making Plans: Think About What You Want to Say
Sometimes the hardest part isn’t the logistics; it’s saying everything you want to your loved ones while you still can. That’s easier for some folks than it is for others. It can seem too emotionally overwhelming to have discussions about death and love to some people. And for others, it can be too much to hear.
This doesn’t mean you can’t say what you want to say. You might think about writing your thoughts in a journal. Knowing that your loved ones will read it when you’ve gone, you can tell them everything you want to tell them. The choice is yours how you do this; you could write letters to each of your loved ones and seal them in envelopes. You could write a memoir of your life or a book about being a new parent or grandparent.
If writing isn’t your thing, you could make videos for the people you love. Or mixtapes. Or you might assemble your favorite recipes so they can be shared later. Or your secrets to your lush garden.
The point is that it doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be perfectly planned. It also doesn’t have to be formal, if you don’t want it to be. But thinking about different aspects of how you’d like to be remembered and celebrated can be a gift to your loved ones that will bring them joy and comfort once you’ve passed.