How can you help your parents to pre-plan their funeral? At first thought, it might seem disrespectful and callous to want to talk with your parents about their eventual death. Many people find it difficult to think about or talk about death and dying. Death and dying are complex topics overlaid with a sense of grief and loss. Some parents may not want to think about their death. Others may just be waiting for an opening to discuss their wishes upon their death.
One way to broach the topic is to be as light-hearted as possible. Try to find the moments when your parents are open to the discussion. Some parents who know they do not have long to live will start randomly talking about different things related to their death. If you are careful, you can often find out many of your parent’s wishes through careful listening. When your mom talks about how she doesn’t want people to be all sad when she dies, you can ask her what she would like to happen when she does die to help people not be so sad. If dad states that cremation is something he thinks would save his friends a lot of money, ask if he would like to be cremated when he dies. It is important to keep notes. Develop your follow-up questions and start to slip them into your conversations over a period of time.
Another way bring up funeral planning is the direct approach. Come prepared to ask the questions you need answers to and to take notes. Some parents are very direct and prefer you to just speak up. Others are more reluctant to engage in the conversation and the indirect method above may work better.
15 Questions You Can Ask Your Parents to Help With Your Discussion:
How do you want people to be notified of your death? newspaper obituaries? which newspapers? online? personal calls?
What funeral home would you like to hire to help with the funeral?
Where would you like a funeral service to be held? church? graveyard? home?
Where would you like to be buried?
Do you prefer to be buried or cremated? If cremated, do you want your ashes spread somewhere or kept in an urn? Should the urn be buried?
Who would you like to be pall bearers, readers, etc?
Who would you like to preside over your funeral church service or mass?
Would you like to pick specific songs to be sung or played at your funeral?
Are there any Bible passages important to you that you want to be included at your funeral?
Do you want a picture display as part of the wake or funeral?
Do you want people to give eulogies? If yes, who?
Do you have specific clothing you would like to be buried in?
If your family tradition typically includes a funeral lunch, does your parent want to offer a funeral lunch or other food for those who attend the funeral?
If people want to give money in memory of your life, where would you like it to be donated?
Do you have a plan to cover the cost of your funeral expenses? If yes, what are they? Where can I find the critical documents I will need?
Approaching your parents about their funeral is never easy. Undergirding your conversations with respect and love is an essential part of the process. Hopefully, we have given you some ideas about how to help your parents pre-plan their funeral that will work for you. If you would like more help pre-planning your parent’s funeral Willwerscheid’s simple pre-planning tool is a great way to get started.