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Have You Considered Planning Your Own Funeral?

January 9th, 2014 · 10 Comments

Have you thought about planning your own funeral? My parents prepaid their funerals and purchased their burial plots, but left the planning to their adult children. They also purchased their own headstone and had exactly what information they wanted chiseled on it. When Mom passed away, we had a funeral service for her, a luncheon afterward, and her ashes were placed at the cemetery at a later date. We also wrote her obituary.

As of this writing, my dad is still alive and the planning will again fall on his children.

When you plan your own memorial service or funeral, you are able to express your wishes and desires, and can give your family peace of mind. One of the main problems with having the adult children make the decisions is that many don’t always get along. The last thing anyone wants is arguing and bickering over someone’s gravesite and headstone.

If you don’t want to plan the whole service, at least write down your general wishes as a guideline. Make sure family members are aware of your decisions. One copy can be on file at the funeral home of your choice, and you can give a copy to each one of your children and your spouse, if he or she is still alive.

I know one person who wanted people to celebrate his death rather than mourn the loss, so he set aside a certain amount of money to spend on a party at a local restaurant. There were tears, of course, but there were also a lot of jokes and stories about his life over the years. Everyone went away from the celebration of his life appreciating who he was and the role he played in their life.

If you want to plan your own funeral or memorial service, by all means do so. Give your family peace of mind knowing they are carrying out your wishes without having to make the tough decisions that can bring division to even the most close-knit families.

We will go into more detail in our next article, but for now, consider whether preplanning is for you and your family.

Tags: Death and Dying

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mel Day // Jan 9, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Sobering, but essential thought.

    A friend of mine is dealing with incurable brain cancer and has mapped out his affairs including his funeral. I guess we don’t tend to do it until it’s necessary, if at all.

    Good points.

  • 2 Sue Fleckenstein // Jan 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    As much as we don’t want to think of this topic, it is something that we should all do. I know my husband and I have talked about this to a certain extent and expressed our wishes to each other.

    After losing our dog last year, the same thoughts and feelings apply too. Didn’t even realize you could keep your dogs ashes and it was really comforting to do so.

  • 3 Bonnie Gean // Jan 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I am amazed that more people don’t think this far into the future, but it’s the first thing that my partner and I did after our wedding vows.

    In fact, I believe it was the same month! We paid for our plots, planned the reviewing, etc. It’s all done. Thank goodness!

  • 4 Cynthia Dixon // Jan 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm


    This post hits so close to home. I lost my mother last year in March and my father many years ago to a brain aneurysm. Neither of my parents had wills or final wishes. I thank God that my brother and I are close and amicable and would never disgrace our parents by bickering.

    Planning a parent’s or loved one’s final services is a way to honor them. I can say that on both accounts, their services were beautiful. However, I do wish that they’d made those decisions and arrangements, but death is hard to face.

    In light of all that we’ve endured, my husband and I have decided to not have funerals. We both want to have a reception. One that’s filled with lots of photos and videos of our lives. There will be music, dance, lots of great foods, and good times.

    We don’t want anyone having to worry with making decisions at such a sad time. We haven’t put aside any money or said where we’d like things to occur, but we do know the wishes of the other.

    I agree, it’s very important to make arrangements and it’s best to do it when able. I think it’s something we owe to our loved ones.

    Great article Edie!

  • 5 Salma // Jan 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Planning is very important. We are lucky that in our mosque, they have a burial expense program that helps us with this that we contribute to every year.

  • 6 Edie // Jan 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Salma, that sounds like a great help to have a burial expense program.

  • 7 Edie // Jan 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Cynthia, what a great way to live this world! I love it! You were blessed to have a brother who you can work with on something like this and stay in agreement. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Think I’ll take notes for my own home-going party.

  • 8 Edie // Jan 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Bonnie Jean, that was quick! Mom and dad decided somewhere along the line, possibly after their own parents started dying and they realized how they could help us kids by having everything ready for us. It was a great gift!

  • 9 Edie // Jan 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    There is a much more willingness in recent years to have special arrangements for pets – certainly not like we had when I was growing up. At least you and your husband have talked about it – now it’s time to take the next step. Right?

  • 10 Edie // Jan 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    True, we usually don’t make any plans until it’s necessary. I’m as guilty as everyone else, although I think about it more now that I’m older.

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