How do you ensure your family and friends know your funeral plans? Different people have different specific wishes as to how their funerals will be although they wouldn’t be around to see if their wishes were followed. In today’s society, you have a lot of choices with regard to how your body should be sendoff when you die. Are you looking to have a traditional funeral followed by burial at a particular cemetery, or a memorial service on a beach with your ashes scattered in the ocean? Perhaps you would like to donate your body to a medical school so that it can be used to train the next generation of doctors? Yes, you might have decided what to happen to your body, but discussing this with your family can be difficult. Below is how to make your funeral wishes known to your family and friends.
Talk to Your Loved Ones About Your Wish
Family is everything and by now, you know them better than anyone else. Considering how they process information; you might want to use a direct or indirect approach to convey the message. The direct approach is whereby you call for a family meeting and tell them your intentions. You let them know you’ll be planning your own funeral and what you want to happen on that fateful day. By letting your family know in advance, you’re giving them a chance to be ready mentally. During the meeting, they should contribute too.
While the indirect approach works best where post-death wishes are weaved into casual conversation. You can start by first mentioning someone’s else death and subsequent funeral or memorial service. This could be someone you know, a story you heard in the news or someone who died on a tv show. Whenever the funeral topic comes up, it’s your opportunity to ask open-ended questions like, “Has anyone ever thought of where they would like to be buried?” or “the type of funeral they want?”
After they have shared their thoughts, now you can make known your wishes. Whichever approach you take, they’re those members who will get upset just by having the conversation. After all, nobody wants to lose a loved one to death.
Having a conversation about your post-death wishes should be done when you’re still in good health. However, if you’re already in poor health, it isn’t too late to have it still. Choose a perfect time when everyone is available and let them know of your wishes. Be prepared for tears. Nevertheless, you should reassure them that you’re doing this to make it easy for them during the difficult time you foresee coming.
Showing Your Funeral Wishes File
Prior to talking with your family, you should at least put everything into writing. This way you just don’t have a conversation with them but you show them a file with exactly what you want to be done should you pass away. Also, give them the location of the file and avoid moving it at any time.
The file is just a reminder and gives specific details. It should be a complete planning checklist for a funeral or memorial service. This includes body disposition (burial or cremation), type of ceremony, speakers giving the eulogy, and the type of flowers.
Also, you can consider writing your own life history, along with lessons you wish to pass onto the next generation. Many people are now writing their own obituaries, which could be funny and moving. In case you write your obituary, be sure to update it should any significant life events occur.
If you prefer not to have a specific person ensuring all your wishes are followed, then you can have the wishes in writing, sign it at the end and produce several copies to give your close family and friends.
Making known your funeral wishes can have a very powerful effect on the family members. Thus, most people will find it hard to intentionally violate the stated wishes of a dead person. Going against such wishes is like crossing layers of moral, cultural, religious and emotional boundaries. Plus, you can’t be at peace knowing you didn’t follow what your dead family member or friend wanted for that last time. So, don’t underestimate the power of writing or making know of your funeral plans. What people need to understand is that funeral wishes aren’t meant to make them feel sad, but a way of easing the entire process. It can be stressful to mourn the loss of a loved one while trying to figure out what they would have wanted for their final arrangements. The wishes relieve you of the burden of making these important decisions. You can take comfort in knowing you have fulfilled their last wishes
All images by Shutterstock