People put off funeral planning. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s because we fear death and we fear the unknown. We are reluctant to face our own mortality. If you ask people about their final wishes, the number one response is an uneasy “I don’t want to think about it.”
But no matter your age or health or financial situation, you should make some plans. None of us are immortal. You will save your family a lot of stress, paperwork and money, during a really difficult time. Unexpected deaths cause the most upheaval in a family, not just because the family is full of surprised grief and shock, but also because the family must attempt to put together an appropriate funeral. A funeral that would be “how he/she would’ve wanted it”.
I’ve read a lot of other web sites that go on about how difficult funeral planning is. One person compared it to planning a big wedding. Frankly, it’s not that difficult. Sure, you’ll have to make some challenging choices… cremation vs. burial, scattering remains vs. placement, which cemetery, which casket etc. These can all be tough choices. But would you rather lay out your ideas in black and white, or force your family to make these decisions in your stead?
Just choose a funeral establishment you trust. Perhaps it’s a place you’ve been before to attend a service. Check out their licensing before you make an appointment. Here in California the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau offers an online tool to check the license status of Funeral Directors and Funeral Homes. You can search by business name and individual director name. Make sure their license is clear and their history is free of any criminal charges. Then make an appointment. It’s really that easy. You don’t have to pre-pay or even sign a contract at all. It’s entirely up to you.
And that’s the therapeutic part of funeral planning. It really is ENTIRELY UP TO YOU. Few things in our lives can be so thoroughly controlled. Take joy in the options available, and select the things that represent YOU best. If you go about planning your funeral with the right mindset, you’ll find it to be stress relieving, not stress inducing. Best of all, once it’s done you no longer have that uneasy feeling of “I don’t want to think about it”.