Pre-planning your funeral from a grief perspective

Consider pre-planning your funeral or final arrangements as a gift you leave to the people who are grieving your death and at the same time having to make preparations with the funeral home or other service providers.  

From a grief counsellor’s perspective, I have spoken with numerous individuals who wish they were given more directions after someone they cared about died. This can include pre-planning of final wishes for their funeral or cremation, but can also include having a legal will.   

It is important to know that there are grieving individuals who put their grief on hold in order to get through all that is required of them to complete a loved one’s final arrangements. There are other instances where a grieving person is so distraught, they are unable to make any decisions when they are required to do so. 

It does not cost anything to pre-plan a funeral or make final arrangements in advance.  Some funeral homes have a form on their website that allows you to put in the pertinent information and documentation needed and secure it for future use.   This saves your family from trying to gather important information after your death.

Here is a scenario of what can transpire after someone has died with no pre-planning arrangements made.

My dad dies and I have no idea what his final wishes are; does he want a funeral service, be cremated and have a memorial gathering afterwards, have a cemetery plot, have his ashes scattered at his favourite spot or what?

Picture this person at the funeral home with the multitude of choices for service options, casket options for viewing (rent or buy), casket or box for cremation, urn or no urn, snacks after the funeral or not, where and when to have a gathering or no gathering. On top of this is the cost and is there money to cover it.

The self questioning and doubt; is this good enough, did he want it this way, what will others think, and why do I have to do this?  I don’t want to be doing this!  STRESS stands out to me as I think about the whole process. 

 In addition to this are the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of grief that complicate any decision-making processes.  Fatigued, overwhelmed, crying, unable to focus or remember what is said, worried about others, have responsibilities that need to be addressed, plus much more.  

If this scenario resonates with you, consider pre-planning and not putting your loved ones through what happened to you or someone you know.  Make life easier during what can be a difficult time. 

All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders