There is nothing more morbid for some than talking about a funeral. Why would it be a happy conversation when you’re talking about the end of the life of someone that you love? When you love someone close to you, the idea of their existence in your world coming to an end feels unimaginable. You cannot comprehend that one day, they won’t be on the end of a phone call and they won’t be able to send a text back to you. It’s difficult, and we put off these necessary conversations because we allow our emotions to come into the equation. The thing is, funerals are a must-have conversation if you expect to have your wishes honored.
When you lose someone, you create a plan based on the things that you know that they would want. Some people want all the bells and whistles: we’re talking horse and carriage processions, a beautiful urn from Green Meadow Memorials, a long ceremony and a marching band. Then there are others who want a quick, quiet ceremony with the cheapest possible coffin and no marked grave. We each want something completely different for the last party we will ever have, and there is so much that you need to learn about funerals before you can even consider planning one.
In this article, we’re going to take you through the ten most important things that you need to know about funerals before you start planning yours. Let’s take a look!
1. Wishes are wants; remember that!
Whether you are planning your own send off or you are involved in planning a funeral for a family or friend, you need to remember that the wishes of the person who died are so important to adhere to. That wish list isn’t your typical bucket list. It’s a request for what they want for their last party before their body is gone from this world. This isn’t something to dismiss and everyone should have the things that they want for their funeral. There is a lot to do when someone dies, but their wish list is something you should honor. Even if it’s not written down and you’ve discussed it, you should remember that their wants are important – even when they’re not here anymore.
2. The cost will shock you
Unfortunately for all of us, funerals are as much a business as a wedding. The costs can run pretty high depending on what you want for yours. Some people choose the traditional burial route where others will go for a cremation and scattering of the ashes. No matter what you want for your funeral, be prepared to drop some serious coin on yours. It’s one of the reasons that so many people choose to set up a funeral fund to pay for their day before they die. They don’t want to burden their family with the cost, so perhaps this should be something that you consider, too.
3. Your insurance can help you pay for it
If you have life insurance, there is every chance that your funeral costs will be covered from it. You can even get social security benefits such as death benefits to help your spouse to afford your funeral. If you don’t currently have life insurance or funeral planning, this could be the next thing on your to-do list!
4. You need to tell people about your plan
When it comes to planning your own funeral, it’s a nice idea to have a list of things that you want but if you don’t tell anyone about it, you’re going to find that you need to get started on that. As we said, not everyone likes to talk about funerals, but this is an important conversation to have and you should start having one of those as soon as possible. If you really do come up against roadblocks to this conversation, speak to a solicitor instead. They will be able to help you to come up with a last Will and testament which will help you to get your wishes across to your friends and family. Communication is key when it comes to your end of life and funeral plans, so don’t bottle these up even if it does make other people uncomfortable.
5. Don’t forget to confirm all of your arrangements
Is there a particular cemetery you want to be buried in? How about a special place for your ashes to be spread? Either way, you need to confirm all of this before your funeral. Of course, you can’t exactly do all of this if you’re dead, but it’s something that you need to confirm as part of your funeral planning process. While you’re at it, confirm with the transport and the cremation companies that you have got everything in place here, too. Get it all squared off and paid for before you kick the bucket and your family won’t have to worry about any of it. If you’ve had ideas about being buried in a specific plot, make sure that this is paid for and organized well in advance of your death. If you don’t confirm your arrangements, your family may get a nasty shock when you die (even more of a shock than your death!).
6. You could really benefit from a funeral planner
Did you have a birth plan when you had children? Did you have a wedding planner to help you to plan your vows? If you chose to plan in advance for these huge life events, you need to remember that planning for your funeral is important. A funeral planner has the sole job of making sure that the arrangements after your death are as smoothly considered as possible. If you don’t have a funeral plan, they will help you to create one. The planning process is pretty important throughout and you can ensure that your costs are in line and confirmed well in advance. Your costs will depend on what you want, of course, but a funeral planner can help you to get the best deals as well as ensure that you get what you want – it’s so important that your wishes are honored, remember?
7. Pay up front
Where you can prepay for anything. Food, transporting your body to the ceremony, the urn for your cremation, get it all paid for up front so that you and your family won’t have to deal with it any longer than is necessary.
8. Services differ
Funeral services are unique to everyone. Often, they depend on cultural and religious beliefs, the way that the deceased wants to be remembered and even the budget of the funeral impacts the service. Funerals are formal occasions for the most part, but in recent years it’s changed from a sad and tearful affair to a happy and tearful affair as we remember a life instead of mourning the dead. People use songs, poems, letters and prayers to remember someone, the body is moved in procession and then the service culminates with either a cremation or a burial. Whatever it is that you want, your service is going to be totally unique to you as it would for a friend.
9. You don’t have to have a wake if you don’t want to
A wake is often the party after a funeral, where people gather to eat, drink, reconnect with long lost family members and remember the person who has died. If you don’t want to have a wake, you don’t have to have one. Some people opt for a bigger and better celebration with a lot of music, a lot of dancing and an obscene amount of food. In some religions, this particular part of the process helps with the grieving that comes on afterwards. If you don’t want to have a wake, you don’t have to have one. You can ask your friends and family to go out for a meal in your memory and swap stories over a meal – a happy moment to remember you with fondness rather than a moment of sadness for people to stand around and cry about you. Though, that’s okay, too!
10. Some people like to offer viewings
You may have been to one yourself, but it’s not as common as it used to be. Some people like to have a visitation or a viewing of their body as part of their funeral plan. The body is embalmed and dressed and people come by to offer love and pay their respects to the deceased. For some people, it offers them closure and the chance to say goodbye that they perhaps didn’t get before. They can express their grief and see your body before you are buried or cremated and it’s helpful for some. However, it doesn’t have to be a part of your plan if you don’t want it to be.
Funerals are a business, but it’s the last chance for your friends and family to let you go and gain some closure. They are complicated to plan but with the right help, you can set yours in stone.