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Throughout our lives, we plan for milestones such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, and retirement. With these occasions come gatherings of loved ones and a myriad of details that go into the process of making them happen. It isn’t any different for a funeral – a celebration of a person’s life. With planning a funeral comes effort and decision making, no matter how simple or elaborate you want your final arrangements to be.

At Horan and McConaty, we understand that talking with your loved ones about your own end of life can be difficult. But communicating your wishes beforehand can help alleviate the burdens that funeral planning places on your family and friends when the time comes.

When we lose a loved one, we often experience immeasurable sadness and the physical toll that grief can put on a person, making it even more difficult to plan for a funeral. Many people believe that if they ask their family to not have a ceremony at all, they will be doing their family a great service by removing logistical and financial burdens from an already difficult time. However, holding a service to share in grief with our loved ones and honor a life helps us to process our thoughts and feelings, and is often the first step in the journey toward healing.

Even if you tell your family you prefer a modest funeral or simple cremation, there will still be many details for them to discuss when the time comes.

A basic funeral or burial can be a more simple and affordable approach, compared to a traditional funeral. Yet, as easy as it is to say you’d like a modest funeral, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. Personal information must be gathered, legal documents signed, and details such as whether to cremate before burial of remains, casket selection, and whether or not to have a public or private viewing. The deceased’s final clothes must be selected and an obituary written, officiants hired, the time, place, and attendees of a service worked out, and a burial plot selected. And, of course, the financial aspect that goes into each.

All of these steps in the process take time, time a family could be spending with their loved ones instead of planning.

Direct, or simple, cremation is cremation soon after death without a service beforehand. Although it eliminates the process of planning a service, the cremation process itself is still not quite so simple. There is still a lot of legal documentation and paperwork to attend to. The process of cremation takes longer than most expect, due to the finality of the type of disposition. Cremations are strictly regulated and laws regarding cremation exist to protect the individual and their family because of the irreversibility of the process. A medical examiner must verify that there are no questions surrounding the cause of death. It can also take a while to gather the proper approval from the next of kin.

And then there are still choices to be made, such as urn selection, cremation case or casket selection, any clothing the deceased will wear, and what to do with the cremated remains. When these decisions aren’t explicitly planned ahead of time, many families find they don’t actually know what mom or dad would have wanted, and arguments over final arrangements are unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence. These disagreements can make an already extremely difficult time so much harder.

Thorough pre-planning takes a heavy weight off a grieving family’s shoulders and gives them confidence and peace of mind during an emotional time. It takes the guesswork out of many decisions they must face, and greatly reduces or eliminates the chance for family members to disagree on where a spouse wished to be buried or if Dad wanted a big ceremony or intimate gathering. When you plan your own funeral in advance, you ensure that your goodbye is exactly how you want it. Your funeral director will help with all those decisions beforehand, keeping you and your family on the right track to carefully coordinate every arrangement.

Our funeral directors at Horan and McConaty are here to walk individuals and families through every step of the process, making it as uncomplicated for everyone as possible. If you’re planning your own funeral or are a family who needs immediate assistance, we’ll help you make sure your wishes and your family’s wellbeing are taken care of. If you’d like to speak to an experienced advanced planner about preplanning, call one of our seven Denver metro locations nearest you at 303.745.4418, or request a free advanced planning kit.

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