Nathan Miller – July 31, 2017
Get the popcorn ready, it’s movie time. Oh look, this film is all about your life, how exciting! There is so much drama and so many plot twists! I am at the edge of my seat! I wonder how it will end. <Spoiler Alert!> You die… I sure hope I didn’t ruin it for you, but it is true. Every single living thing on this planet has one thing in common, we will all die. Now that I have depressed all of you and got you pondering your own mortality, let’s talk about how you can make your death a little easier for all of your loved ones: Preplanning Your Funeral.
I know what you are thinking…”Why should I worry about my death? That’s someone else’s problem.” The topic of one’s own death is something that most people openly try to avoid. Some feel that a funeral is a financial and emotional burden. Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes’ Advance Planning Funeral Director, J. Chad Payne, CPC says that he lost count of the times he heard the statement, “I don’t care what you do with me after I’m gone, just dig a hole and throw me in a box”. Chad says that folks just do not want to have to deal with their own death, but the reality is someone will have to deal with it. Whether you want them to or not, your loved ones are going to grieve and cry when you die. Going through the stress of planning and paying for your funeral usually doesn’t help the matter. To make sure that the burden of planning and paying for your funeral is taken off of the shoulders of your loved ones, you make your funeral plans in advance.
Now, I know what your next question is: “What are the benefits of preplanning?”…Well, I’m glad you asked that question. Let me tell you some of the true benefits of planning your funeral in advance.
In my personal opinion, the most important aspect of preplanning your funeral is easing the stress on your family. When you die, your family and friends are already going to be stressed and very emotional. You can say that you do not want people worrying about you, but it will happen. Believe it or not, it is a good thing. That means that you were so loved that you have these people who are going to be so sad to see you go. Do you really want to add the stress of planning a funeral on top of the stress that they will already be feeling? If you do not make these decisions known, they will be faced with making the difficult decisions of planning your funeral at an already very vexing time.
Not only will your loved ones have the stress of planning your funeral, but paying for it too. Funerals can be a significant expense. Planning ahead allows you to make all the financial arrangements for your funeral. When you preplan, you lock in the costs of the funeral goods and services at today’s charges giving you the opportunity to save money. Who knows what those charges will be at the time of your death. Funerals are an inevitable expense. When you preplan, you can choose how to pay for your arrangements in a way that is convenient and affordable for you. Otherwise, your next of kin will have a large bill given to them for your funeral services.
Another important reason to preplan your own funeral is to make sure that everything is done your way. When you die, your loved ones will do their best to make sure that your funeral service is done how you would have wanted. However, if you preplan your own funeral, there won’t be any doubt. Dr. Gene Lockaby, CFSP (Funeral Director with Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes) said that “doing preplanning gives you the opportunity to make decisions that you would personally like to have in your service. It gives you a piece of mind.” Do you want a traditional funeral service or a contemporary celebration of life? Do you want to be buried or cremated? If cremation, do you want to have a funeral service with visitation with your body present or do you want a memorial service? Do you want a preacher or a celebrant? Do you want a metal casket or a wood casket? Do you want to be buried in cemetery A or cemetery B? Do you want Elvis’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”? You choose the service, you choose the casket, you choose the cemetery, etc., etc. Making all of these choices ahead of time gives you and your family more time to really discuss what would be best instead of the possibility of making rash decisions.
Now, I believe that funerals are more for the living than for the dead, but that is exactly why you should make sure that all the arrangements are done right. Having a heartfelt, meaningful funeral is very important for a grieving family. When everything is done right, the ceremony will allow them to initiate the healing process. Your loved ones can benefit emotionally by knowing that they have honored you with a suitable ritual and an appropriate send off. It can be very difficult to make the funeral just right while planning it without you and in a short period of time.
Taking care of all of your funeral arrangements and costs is a very selfless and loving thing to do for your family. You can rest assured that they will truly appreciate you looking after them even after you are gone. It is a heartening thought to know that all the burden of planning a funeral has been eased.
I’ll leave you with some food for thought: Can you imagine planning and paying for wedding in just a few days? Or any ceremony for that matter? Don’t leave the definitive celebration of your life to the last minute.