Discussing Funeral Plans With Friends and Family

April 22, 2020

Discussing funeral arrangements is a conversation people want to avoid, and for good reason. Many find it an extremely sad and morbid topic to discuss and therefore try and avoid at all costs. However, in doing this, they could be making things harder for themselves and their loved ones. Although it is always going to be a tough conversation, knowing your loved ones now understand your funeral plans can be beneficial for everyone involved and help further down the line. Here we discuss how and why you should be telling friends and family your funeral plans.

How to start the conversation

A major stumbling point for many is how to start the conversation. They may understand the importance of letting their family know what their funeral wishes are, however, they never find the perfect time to start the subject. The truth is, there is never going to be the “perfect” time. The topic of death and funerals is never nice. However, it is an extremely important conversation that needs to be had. So, whenever you want to talk about it, be brave and start talking. Remember that the most difficult part will be deciding the start the conversation.

Some people start mentioning it in casual conversation, others will broach the topic when a close friend or colleague has died. Others will only mention it if they have been told they are ill. The main thing is that no matter why you have started this conversation, you are talking about it which is great.

Many find it easier to start the conversation in a comfortable and casual setting. So, why not try to discuss over a cup of tea or coffee. It can make a difference. Talking in an informal and relaxed environment can also help your loved ones feel comfortable enough to ask any questions they may have.  If you don’t feel ready to simply start the conversation, you can always ease into it by discussing the funeral arrangements of a friend, talk about a funeral you attended or a funeral you have seen on TV. This method can sometimes help break the ice.

If you are wanting to talk to several members of your family, then consider talking to them at the same time. This doesn’t have to involve talking in a room full of people however if you have several children, it often makes sense to have them sit together and discuss the plans together. Not only does this allow them to all ask questions together, it means that they will have each other there for support and you have peace of mind that everyone knows the same information, without you having to repeat yourself.

What you should discuss

Once you have started the conversation, it is important that you have a plan of what you want to discuss. Try not to talk about too much in one go. It can be extremely overwhelming.

Start by discussing the basics of your funeral; whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated. You may also want to mention if you want to have a religious or non-religious ceremony and if you would like a wake. If so, do you have any preferences?

If you do not have any specific ideas or preferences, then it is still important to let your loved ones know this. However, Once of the larger topics have been discussed, you can then talk about finer details. Share whether there are any particular songs or readings you would like at the ceremony. Are there any particular stories or photos you wish to be shared? Do you have any preferences on where you would like the funeral to take place, or where you would like your ashes to be scattered? This is a lot to talk about so you may want to discuss these at a later date- just choose whenever feels more comfortable for everyone.

How to document your funeral wishes

Although discussing your plans with loved ones is extremely important, don’t forget that documentation of the plans is equally as critical as it will make the process easier for everyone when the time comes, as your loved ones will know exactly what you wanted. Record your funeral wishes either in your will, as part of a funeral plan or both. Having your plans in these official places ensures that they are in a safe place until they are needed.

What if you’re not ready?

If you are really struggling to start the conversation, then you could always write down your thoughts instead. This will ensure that you know exactly what you want to say to your friends and family when you do decide to start the conversation.

Talking about what sort of funeral you’d really like is the only way to ensure that your loved ones know what to plan. There is no right or wrong way to talk about it. No matter what your age, or circumstances, it is never too early to start the conversation. We plan many aspects of our lives and although death is often unpredictable, being able to plan and share your thoughts on your funeral is a way to take as much control as you can and ensure your loved ones do not have to make as many difficult decisions when they are grieving.

We all like to believe that we know everything there is to know about our loved ones but in reality, we may not be certain of exactly what their funeral plans are so these conversations are vital. So whether you are unsure when or how to bring up the topic of funeral plans or what you should be discussing, hopefully, this article will help.