The Best Gift

Posted on August 15, 2013 by Julie Olds under Personal Stories of Grief
1 Comment

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Saturday morning I had breakfast with a friend (I’ll call her Sharon) and she told me a story that I just had to share with you.

Last month Sharon’s mother died and she flew out to Phoenix for the funeral.  Sharon was not close with her mother.  Apparently many years ago Sharon’s mother remarried a man that Sharon did not like and felt was not good for her mother.  But instead of causing a scene or being difficult, Sharon chose to distance herself from them.  She stopped visiting, stopped sending cards, and eventually stopped calling her mother.  So when she got the call that her mother had died, it was something she was not expecting.

What she did expect was to have to fly out to Arizona and make arrangements for a woman she wasn’t even close to for the last several years, and maybe even pay for some or the entire funeral.  But when she got to Phoenix everything that happened was also something she did not expect.

First, her step father greeted her at the airport and gave her a warm and endearing embrace.  He said, “Your mother never stopped talking about you and your family.  She loved you so much…to the very end.”  Then they drove to the house and Sharon was shocked to see all the pictures of her and her children throughout the home.  It was clear that her mother had lived a very nice and comfortable life.  She dropped off her things and they went to the funeral home.

The funeral director, a “nice young man,” led them into a room and explained that there were only a few things they needed to go over.  Sharon was confused.  She asked, “What do you mean a few things?  We’re making my mother’s funeral arrangements.”  The young man explained to Sharon that her mother had prearranged her funeral over five years ago.  She already picked out everything from the casket to the music to the flowers she wanted.  And everything was already paid.  Sharon was shocked.

So as the young man proceeded to describe this funeral, Sharon began to feel angry…and then guilty, and a multitude of other emotions that come from this unexpected experience.  She realized that her mother chose flowers that were both her and Sharon’s favorite.  She also chose music from an album they used to listen to over and over when they were younger.  By the time they reviewed all of the information, Sharon also realized that her mother did this out of love for her.


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The funeral proceeded and the funeral home did a wonderful job of truly personalizing this service to honor her mother’s life.  Sharon was so touched by everything…everything she did not expect.  By the time all services were over and it was time to go home, Sharon made sure she let her step father know that he would always be welcome in her home and that she would stay in touch.

So Saturday morning when Sharon and I were eating breakfast and she was telling me what happened, she also asked me what it would take to make arrangements for herself and her husband.  I explained that we have a team of advance funeral planning professionals who would be able to help her with whatever she wanted.  She said, “It was the best gift my mom gave to me, and I want to give that same gift to my family.”

For more information about our advance funeral planning, please visit our website at

Have you experienced a funeral that brought a family back together?

Have you ever considered pre-planning your own funeral?

Julie Olds

Julie is the Director of Community Relations at Schoedinger Funeral Service.

One Response to The Best Gift

  1. Molly says:

    Great story! I love testimonials like these that are so honest and receptive of the gift given. Thank you for sharing this!

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