If you’ve ever experienced your parents planning a funeral for a loved one, you know the stress it can cause. They had to rush to make decisions, pay for the services and accommodate friends and family. There was no time to process what was happening, let alone grieve. These are things you don’t forget.
Now, as your parents get older, you begin to realize that those responsibilities will fall to you. The good news is that many are now preplanning their funerals to remove the burden from their grieving family members.
While funeral preplanning is an important process, so is discussing it. The Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) also believes so strongly in having this discussion that they’ve created resources entitled, Have the Talk of a Lifetime.
FAMIC President Kathleen Berry stated, “This campaign helps individuals truly know their families, friends and members of the community. You hear the real story of who they are, what is important to them, and what you can do to create a meaningful funeral that represents that person. When families have the ‘Talk’, it is easier to know how to plan the final celebration of their loved one.”
In a past post, we offered tips for parents to approach the conversation with their children. While those suggestions apply here too, it’s a different dynamic when bringing up a funeral discussion to your parents. Read on to learn how to handle this situation.
1. Have an Open Conversation
The Have the Talk of a Lifetime Campaign suggests sharing stories with your family to get to know each other more. It doesn’t have to be formal; the more relaxed the environment and tone, the better. Reflect on fond memories and good times. Spend time laughing and talking about life. Not only will this bring you closer together, but also it will open the door to different aspects of preplanning a funeral.
During this discussion, you’ll learn about things that matter most to your parents. Incorporate these into a funeral service. Find out what truly represents who they are and how they want people to remember them. They may have a favorite flower, photo or song that reminds them of cherished times in their lives.
2. Explain The Benefits of Preplanning
This is a time to explain to your parents what preplanning means. Help them understand everything it entails and how it will lessen the stress at an already difficult time.
Preplanning allows them to plan everything from the casket to the type of service they want. Use the memories you’ve talked about to add personal touches. Preplanning documents it all so there are no hard decisions left to make.
Preplanning doesn’t only help you as their child, but their surviving spouse too. This is their way of making sure you are all able to grieve and reflect with family and friends. You can spend time with loved ones remembering good times and comforting one another.
3. Pay Attention for Signs of Stress
As you delve deeper into the details of preplanning, you may notice your parents getting quiet and stressed. If this is the case, don’t feel like you need to push them any further. You’ve given them a lot of information. Give them time to soak it in and reflect. They may also want to discuss between themselves.
But, find ways to bring it up again in the future. Offer to help them get started or do some research. Understand where they may need you to support them.
Download our ebook, The Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to learn more about how preplanning can save time, money and worry. Click the image below to get your free copy.
Image credit: Jonas Boni via Flickr