We live in a society that is afraid to talk about death.
There are many reasons we avoid the subject; most people die in hospitals or other care centers, which isolates them and makes death mysterious. The medicalization of death has taken much of the control over their own final days out of the hands of the dying and placed it instead in the hands of medical professionals; advances in healthcare have led to a subconscious belief that death is a treatable disease that can be overcome with perseverance. Often, we don’t talk about death until we are faced with it…but we should.
Decrease Your Family’s Stress
The time after a death is the most stressful period many people will go through in their lives. Talking with your family and loved ones about your wishes is one of the kindest things you can do for them in the long run, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at the time. Knowing your wishes for funeral services or memorials, who should be contacted, and so on lifts some of the burden from the people you love during the time when they are most vulnerable.
This is especially true when a death is unexpected. We all imagine that we will grow old and grey and watch our grandchildren playing in the park, but sometimes fate has other plans. Accidents happen. Disease strikes unexpectedly. Grieving families may have no idea what your wishes were, where your important papers are, or even whom they should notify. They may be so paralyzed with shock that they are unable to make decisions. And for younger people the cost of a funeral, unexpected and unplanned-for, can be a crushing financial weight. Pre-planning your funeral, whatever your age, ensures that your family is spared the financial stress of financing a funeral.
The stress of funeral planning sometimes creates rifts within families. Everyone is emotional in their grief, and when no one knows what your wishes are your spouse, parents, siblings, or children may all have their own opinion. This can lead to arguments and hurt feelings that may affect family relationships for years. Funeral pre-planning gives you the final opinion, and leaves your family free to comfort and support one another instead.
Another Form of Insurance
We all hope to live long and healthy lives. We hope to live productively, age gracefully, and die—many many years from now—with dignity, surrounded by the people we care about. In the meantime, we do what we can to protect and care for the ones we love; we get health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, we save in a 401k and a college fund for our children. Funeral pre-planning is just another form of insurance, one that all adults should have whatever their age. If you would like help in starting a conversation with your family, visit our pre-planning page or see our pre-planning checklist. Your family will thank you some day.