We often are asked, “How old should you be to preplan your own funeral?” Our answer is always the same: any age. As much as we all wish we could, no one can predict when they will die, and making arrangements in advance is never a bad idea.
That means people from all stages of life may find themselves wondering how to bring up the topic of preplanning to their family members. Most people are uncomfortable talking about death, nor do they like thinking about when they’ll have to say goodbye to the person they love. Here are some tips to make what can be a difficult conversation a lot easier.
Whether you’re talking about your own funeral or your parents’ or spouse’s, it’s best to gently guide the conversation into the topic. Bringing up death out of the blue can be jarring, and may cause them to become defensive and less likely to listen to what you have to say. Talk about favorite family traditions, or if someone you know has recently passed away, and what you liked or didn’t like about their services.
Many people have never had to plan a funeral, so it’s likely they have no idea about all of the details that go into one. Even the simplest of ceremonies and cremations require many decisions to be made, adding to what is an already stressful and emotional time. Tell your spouse you love them, and don’t want to leave them with the logistical and financial burdens of planning a funeral. Tell your parents that you want to be able to be there for your family as they grieve, not in a room talking to a funeral director about caskets and flower prices. Preplanning really is an act of love.
A discussion as important as this one doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you sense signs of discomfort or stress, tell your loved one you can continue the conversation another time. Revisit the topic of preplanning at a time when they’re not busy, tired or distracted, when they’re more likely to be able to listen. By gradually and continually (but gently) voicing how important and helpful preplanning is, your loved one will hopefully begin to understand what a gift planning ahead can be to them or their loved ones.
French has many resources to assist you in informing your family about preplanning, including regular seminars throughout Albuquerque. You can find more information about preplanning here, as well as a list of our preplanning events.