Planning Your Own Funeral Service
May 8th, 2018
Funerals serve as a time for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of a loved one who has died. Not only do they offer the opportunity to remember the deceased, but they also can offer comfort and support at an emotional time. While planning your own funeral service may seem uncomfortable, there are several great reasons to do so. These steps will help you create a genuine event to honor the end of life.
Reasons for Planning Your Own Service
Arranging your own funeral requires that you come to terms with your mortality, which can be an empowering act. Being able to embrace the inevitability of death may inspire you to cherish life. Having plans in place when you reach the end of your life will also lift a tremendous burden from your grieving family and friends. With all of the arrangements addressed, your loved ones can focus on honoring your life and tending to their emotional needs as they navigate this difficult time. Rather than meeting with funeral directors and making numerous phone calls, they will have the time and space to grieve and support one another. If you pay ahead of time, you can also lift a significant economic burden from your loved ones, and even save money by weighing your options and deciding what is right for you based on your budget.
A funeral generally has two components. First is a more practical decision: what to do with the deceased’s remains. These options include cremation, traditional burial, green or natural burial, among other alternatives. Should you choose burial, you will have to select a cemetery or other burial site. You should also decide whether you would like your body to be embalmed, and what type of casket you would like. Should you choose cremation, you can decide what you would like to be done with your ashes. You may wish for a loved one to have them scattered in your favorite place, or you can select an urn to hold the ashes.
The second component of a funeral is a more creative decision: how to celebrate the deceased’s life. As you plan your funeral or memorial service, imagine an event that would provide the most meaningful way to say goodbye. It should represent your uniqueness, reflect your personal and/or religious beliefs, and provide an opportunity for loved ones to express their grief. You may choose to have a funeral in a place of worship or in a funeral home. Or, you may choose to have a home funeral. You can select details of the service, such as music, readings, food, flowers, and other personal touches. You may also choose to appoint one or more loved ones to deliver a eulogy. For a complete checklist to help plan your funeral arrangements, click here.
Talking About It
As you make your funeral arrangements, it is important to talk about them with your loved ones. There is no one right time to have the conversation; some families may find that it naturally comes up in a casual setting, while others may find that special events like birthdays or weddings are an appropriate time. Asking a question may help ease into the dialogue. Try asking “Have you ever thought about how you would like to be remembered?” or “Do you have a favorite song, scripture or poem?” It is natural to be sad or uncomfortable during such conversations. Try to acknowledge these emotions and give yourselves enough time to express your thoughts without rushing. Remember that speaking about your wishes can provide peace-of-mind not only to you, but to your loved ones as well.