Here in the UK we have a complicated relationship with death. We’re all aware that it’s inevitable, and most of us have experienced grief in some way; yet when it comes to talking about death, we tend to bury our heads in the sand. It’s hardly surprising when research from 2018 revealed that nearly two thirds of adults in the UK have not even written a will, let alone thought about what they want to happen to their body when they pass away.
Sadly, too many of us never get around to that ‘chat’. We simply leave it too late.
This is perfectly understandable as it’s a difficult conversation to have. However, having it makes everything easier for your loved ones in the long run. Planning a funeral for a recently deceased friend or family member without any instructions or direction can be extremely stressful at a time when they are coming to terms with a loss. Not leaving clear instructions can also cause arguments or rifts between family members if they disagree, which could delay settling your affairs or make the funeral itself awkward for those who attend it.
Plan ahead for peace of mind
Leaving a clear plan gives you and your loved ones a sense of control during what will be a distressing and confusing time. It also provides relief and takes the pressure off having to make sudden decisions, which is why discussing your funeral wishes well ahead of time is such a good idea. Explaining the importance of planning ahead to your loved ones will help them feel more comfortable about discussing your wishes.
Who should I discuss my wishes with?
Firstly, think carefully about who you want to entrust this information to. Is there a specific person you trust to take charge of the planning after you die? Or would you like to make your plans known to several people so that there’s no disagreement? If this is the case, you might need to consider a different approach for each person.
Keep in mind that the person you are asking to arrange the funeral does not have any legal obligation to follow your wishes. Therefore, it’s important to agree the plans in advance with someone who you believe will carry them out. Whilst you may consider putting your wishes in your will, this may not be read before the funeral takes place.
Where should I discuss my funeral wishes?
This might seem like an odd thing to consider but where you choose to start the chat could have an effect on how it goes. Pick somewhere comfortable to put everyone at ease. If it could be a difficult conversation, it might be best to go somewhere private where no one will be embarrassed or afraid of being overheard.
How do I discuss my wishes with my loved ones?
There are two options when it comes to getting the chat started; the direct or the indirect approach. This will depend on who you are talking to and how comfortable they are with the conversation, so consider it carefully. If your family or friends are open and frank with each other, the direct approach will work well – jump right in and get talking about what you want.
For others it might feel awkward bringing it up out of the blue, so it can help to find a way to gently begin the conversation. This could be talking about a friend or celebrity who has recently passed away, or maybe a song you have heard that you’d like to play a part in the ceremony.
To keep the conversation on track, you might find it useful to make some notes in advance. This will help you discuss all your thoughts with your family and friends and agree what is the best way for you to move forward. For tips on what you should be talking about you can read our advice here.
When should I start the conversation?
For many of us there is no time like the present! If you have thought about this previously or this blog has prompted you to do so now, why not request an information pack today? You can do so by simply clicking here.
It’s best to get these conversations started as early as possible. If you already know what you want, why not share it with your friends and family now? It will probably be less upsetting to your loved ones if you do it when you are well, and if they know in advance there’s no rush to put plans in place if anything changes.
The benefit of being the one to get the chat started is that you open the dialogue for others to do the same. This knock on effect will encourage others to think about their own wishes and hopefully begin to reduce the taboo surrounding talking about death and funerals.
Ready to start making your funeral plans so you can get the conversation started? Direct cremation is a contemporary choice aimed at those who want a fuss-free ceremony away from a burial or cremation. It gives you the freedom to choose the style of send-off you would like at a time more convenient for your loved ones. Get in touch with our specialist care team today to discuss your options with someone who is totally comfortable answering difficult questions.
Whatever level of planning you decide on you are guaranteed to feel the weight lifted off your shoulders.