Final Arrangements: An Important Conversation CategoriesThinking About Dying

Final Arrangements: An Important Conversation

Funeral planningIt’s a cold Tuesday morning in February.  A husband lost his wife the day before.  He sits in an arrangements room at a local funeral home with his son, daughter, and son-in-law along with two other family members, one of whom sits in the corner quietly crying.  The husband is dazed.  Even while deep in grief, he needs to plan the funeral service for the woman who has been his love and helpmate for most of his life.  The family struggles to stay focused and make decisions about how to memorialize a woman who has defined their lives. Some questions seem irrelevant but are necessary for the death certificate.  Some discussions teeter on the edge of argument – topics that seem to be simple but become complex with grief and family dynamics.

Whether the loss was expected or sudden, planning a funeral after the death is very hard on the family.  While dealing with deep emotions and necessary tasks, someone must gather important information for the death certificate.  At a time when family and friends most need to be comforting each other, they are instead deciding on caskets, flowers, and funeral arrangements.

Funeral planning

We plan for important life events – weddings, buying a home, college education for our children, and retirement. We talk with experts to help make these decisions; experts like Realtors or financial planners. We consider options about wedding venues or neighborhoods for a home or types of investments to allow us the lifestyle we want in retirement.

As we plan for our families and our lives, we make choices to provide a good life and future.  We want to ensure security and peace of mind.

Final arrangements are another aspect of life that needs planning.  Sometimes easily and sometimes with reluctance, we talk with an attorney about documents needed to secure our future – a power of attorney, an advance medical directive, and a will.  Often, we stop at that point.  Don’t. Add to that list of important and necessary documents by pre-planning end-of-life arrangements.  Take the 2 or 3 hours needed to speak with a Pre-Planning Counselor. 

Funeral planning

For some, it isn’t easy to talk about our death.  We say that someone else can deal with it. Plan to make it right – provide peace of mind for your family. Losing a loved one is one of life’s most stressful events. Prearranging the funeral eases the stress and guesswork for families and ensures that final wishes are honored.

For more information about funeral planning, check out the Dignity Memorial website.


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For 20 years, Susan Campbell has worked with seniors and their families during difficult transitions. She is a pioneer in the senior move management industry and now uses her compassion and training to work with families and professionals during the end-of-life celebrations and transitions. Susan is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Dignity Memorial in Richmond, VA. Dignity Memorial provides funeral, cremation, and cemetery services for a “Life Well Celebrated.”

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