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Pre-planning can be a celebration, too

There are plenty of practical reasons to pre-plan your funeral. It can help alleviate stress for your loved ones after you’re gone. It can allow for payment arrangements to be established in advance. It can help ensure your final wishes are respected and carried out.

But here’s something people don’t often consider: Planning your own funeral can be joyous, too.

After all, funerals are about more than mourning a loss. They are way to remember a life. They provide a healthy starting point through the journey of grief. They’re a gathering of people who care about each other and comfort one another through express raw, messy, complicated, beautiful emotions and though it can be strange to plan an event you will not be there to witness, the act of planning can itself be a form of celebration – especially when you involve your loved ones.

A Chance to Connect Over What Matters

It’s important to involve your family in your funeral plans. On a basic level, you’ll want to let your loved ones know about your preferences so they can implement them when the time comes. But it’s a good time to connect, too, and talk about what’s important to all of you. Here are some tips for a successful conversation:

  • Consider who will be in the position of carrying out your wishes. Don’t assume that they know what you want just because you’ve casually mentioned a preference once over dinner or that they’ll automatically know about the family burial plot. Arrange to have a formal discussion with your loved ones to be sure everyone is on the same page. 
  • Reassure them about why this conversation is important. Talking about death can feel awkward or alarming. People may assume that you have a terminal diagnosis or some other reason to make end-of-life plans. Let them know why you’re thinking about the future and reassure them that you care about them – that’s why you want to make things easier for them. 
  • You can break the ice a bit by talking about other funerals or memorials you’ve attended and what aspects helped bring peace or even joy, and where there were problems you’d like to help your family avoid. 
  • Talk about the practical aspects, like whether you want to be buried or cremated, but think about some of the fun things, too. Mention favorite songs or photos you think would be good for a memorial. Ask your loved one what they associate with you or would remember you by. You might be surprised at what they say! 
This can be an opportunity to share memories and reminisce about your own departed loved ones and think about how you honored their memories and where you fit into that story. It doesn’t have to be a somber discussion; it can be casual, heartfelt, and even silly at times. What matters is that you consider your wishes and make them known. 

Attending Your Own Funeral

You probably won’t get an opportunity like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to eavesdrop from the rafters of your own funeral to hear all of the kind words and shared memories. But pre-planning does allow you an opportunity to think about what’s important and to make choices that will be meaningful to you and those who will be saying goodbye.

Thinking through what matters to you gives you a chance to consider your legacy and reflect on the life that you’ve lived. It’s an opportunity to practice gratitude. And, in its own way, it’s a chance to celebrate your life and accomplishments.

Once you’ve considered some of your preferences and discussed them with those closest to you, you can speak with a funeral director to formalize those plans and make arrangements. For more than a century, Horan & McConaty has helped the families of Denver with funeral planning and memorial services. We can help you with your pre-planning arrangements, too. Reach out to 303-745-4418 to schedule a meeting with one of our advance planners to discuss your wishes and plan for a day that will honor your life.

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