Take a minute and ponder this question, "when is the last time someone you love died, and it didn't really matter?" I know, you're reading this and thinking, "well that's a ridiculous question!" And you're right; however, when you consider the way we tend to avoid the conversation when it comes to death and funeral planning, it almost seems as though it just doesn't matter. Truth is, we discuss the things in life that matter to us and that are important to us—so then, if the death of a loved one is important, and obviously matters to us, then why not have the conversation and talk about a plan? It makes sense!
Is it awkward? Yes. Is it uncomfortable at first? Yes. One of the most significant points of resistance when it comes to opening up a conversation regarding death and funeral planning is the overall lack of knowledge and understanding—most of us don't even know what questions to ask; therefore, we usually default to asking the one question we feel most confident we'll understand, "How much will this cost?" And there is no denying this is important, but when you're not sure about what you want and what your options include, how do you know the answer to "how much" is correct for you and your family? So, in humility, we opt for what is simple and basic and "no trouble"; which is fine, if that is truly what you and your family and your loved one want and what will bring you peace and healing.
This is the delicate place within grief and loss, particularly when there has not been any prior conversation or planning, where WANT and NEED converge and, at times, collide. What a family needs often times gives way to "we've decided to JUST do this or that" or "they JUST want this or that". Once again, this is fine if "JUST this or that" truly provides comfort and healing; however, if those impromptu plans do not provide a sense of much needed peace of mind, the process of grieving may be prolonged indefinitely for some members of the family. So then, what's the answer when what we need is unique for each individual? The answer is to break through the fear and resistance and awkwardness, and begin the conversation.
Be clear and honest and take a moment to consider what others may NEED as you express what you WANT; and vice versa. Listen to one another and remember, funerals are intended to honor each person as they lived their life and to provide comfort and peace and the first steps towards healing for family and friends. Funeral planning is the most practical way to ensure that happens.
Think about this...maybe, just maybe, once you and your family have had this conversation and courageously stepped into that uncomfortable place of funeral planning, you will realize how much more you are able to truly appreciate and enjoy every moment you share together. That's the ultimate gift; because it matters.
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