Truth be told, pre planning a funeral doesn’t have to be morbid, or sad, or awkward. It can definitely be hard to start the conversation but having the discussion about end-of-life arrangements offers the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our loved ones while we have the time. Advanced planning means your family won’t be left with difficult funeral decisions, which is the last thing you need when facing grief and stress. It also can give families peace of mind knowing the final arrangements are something that was meaningful and important to their loved one. In a way, making end-of-life arrangements is the final gift a person can give their loved ones.
“Ok, so how do I begin the conversation”?
Think about the conversation being an opportunity to share stories.. Think about where you will be physically, somewhere that you and your loved one will be able to open up and share stories, ideas and feelings. This might be in the family living room, on a walk, at a quiet table in a favourite café, anywhere familiar and comfortable for everyone. Now for the hard part, actually finding the words to start the conversation. While you will need to make the purpose of the conversation clear, there are lots of gentle ways to start it.
- “What’s your happiest childhood memory”?
- “What jobs have you done and what life lessons did they teach you”?
- “What is your proudest achievement”?
- “What’s the one piece of advice you’ve been given that you’ve never forgotten”?
- “How did you meet………”
- “What song sums you up”?
These kinds of questions are great conversation starters and will help to start bringing back memories. You’re bound to find out something new. Especially if you don’t usually have these kinds of talks.
You may not get everything you need in one go but at least you’ve started the conversation. Over time, you can get around to the finer details such as the type and style of funeral, whether they would like to be buried or cremated, the final resting place – cemetery or scattering of ashes, what kind of casket or urn, music and readings, even the type of hearse they would like.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of these details so that you can continue to add and change them as time goes by and new ideas spring to mind. You can download a free pre planning guide here that you can fill in and keep.