If you’ve ever planned a funeral for a loved one, you likely discovered information about him or her that you had forgotten – or never knew in the first place. The entire process of memorializing someone who has died can bring to light new aspects of that person’s well-lived life. While looking through old paperwork and artifacts in preparation for the funeral, you might find unexpected details about where your loved one lived, their accomplishments and the places they traveled.
These discoveries are incredibly meaningful, but they often bring up even more questions about your loved one’s life story. What a remarkable gift it would be to our loved ones if we took the time to talk about our lives now, while we have the chance to elaborate on those milestones.
This is one of the many reasons why having important conversations about memorialization and final wishes can be an enjoyable experience. Not only does this action help bring you closer to your loved ones, but it also provides the foundation of an advance funeral plan that can bring you peace of mind and help ensure your wishes will be met.
Here are just a few ways people can find joy in the process of planning how they want to be remembered.
You can reflect on your life in a new way.
Most people are known for certain “signature” traits – whether they’re notable hobbies, personality quirks or favorite volunteer activities. But if you think about how you want to be remembered, you might realize that your well-known characteristics aren’t the things that you want to be remembered for. Your loved ones may plan an end-of-life celebration that reflects your favorite activity, for example, when you would much rather have a service that emphasizes meaningful moments with your family members.
Taking stock of the things that really matter in life can bring new purpose to our daily routines. Advance funeral planning allows you to reflect on the stories that mean the most to you and work with your loved ones to find ways to ensure these important moments will be remembered.
You can learn about and share your family history.
Unless you work on genealogy as a hobby, it’s probably been a while since you took the time to think about your family history. Funeral planning gives you an opportunity to remember the stories of your loved ones who have died and to share those memories with family members who never got a chance to meet them.
You’ll cherish the time you spend talking to your loved ones about your family’s origins – and your family members will too. They’ll appreciate that you initiated the conversation so they can learn more about their own history.
You can enjoy peace of mind.
It’s easy to see why advance funeral planning is beneficial for families, but many people simply put it off. It can be uncomfortable to think about end-of-life issues, and even more so to explain your preferences to loved ones. But by approaching the subject in the context of sharing stories about your life, you can make the conversation easy – and even enjoyable – for you and your loved ones.
For many people who prearrange their funerals, peace of mind is an important factor. In a 2015 survey, Homesteaders asked policy owners to share their reasons for making advance funeral plans. Almost all of them (96%) responded that “eliminating emotional burden from kids” was an important factor in the decision. As one respondent to our 2013 survey commented, “After you get it done, you have a little peace of mind that nobody will have to take care of that for you.”
If you’re not sure how to start conversations about your end-of-life wishes, visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime® website to find resources to help. A reputable funeral home in your area can also provide resources to help you make advance funeral plans and share those plans with your family members.