For many, there's no topic too taboo to discuss with family. Yet there's one important topic which some families may not have talked about: what to do when someone they love passes on. Yes, these conversations can be difficult, if not downright awkward, but it really shouldn't be this way. All good things must come to an end, and this includes our lives and the lives of our family members. And while we won't be around to help or protect them after we pass (at least not in any physical way) we can take steps now to ensure their health and their happiness for years to come. How? By preplanning your final wishes and discussing them with your family.
It's entirely likely, of course, that some members of your family will not be comfortable discussing these plans with you straight away. Though an important conversation to have, it's not one which should be had flippantly or without some preparation. Here's some tips on having this conversation with your family members.
Keep Your Family in Mind
If you haven't already begun to preplan your final wishes, take this advice into consideration. Preplanning your wishes, especially preplanning a cremation, is the best way to lessen the burden of your passing on your family, both emotionally and financially. If you've already started the preplanning process and want to talk about it with your family, keep each family member in mind. You may have a son, for instance, who appreciates a frank conversation about your plans, but a daughter who doesn't want to discuss it at all. Consider having a series of one-on-one talks with each family member. This will allow you to guide your conversation in a way that each member of your family will appreciate.
Be Only as Specific as You Need to Be
If you've chosen cremation as a part of your final wishes, it may not be wise to discuss the intimate details of the process to your very young children. In every family, there's one person who generally takes the lead on family matters, planning, etc. This may be a person with whom you share the most details about your wishes, including financial information and burial preferences. It's helpful for the entire family to understand your final wishes, but sometimes it's best to only share the nitty-gritty details with one or two people.
Sooner Rather Than Later
Though death is inevitable, it's certainly not entirely predictable. This means the sooner you can start preplanning, the better. Likewise, the sooner you get your wishes ironed out, the sooner you can share them with your family. And the sooner they know your wishes, the more prepared they'll be for the day when you say goodbye to them.
Preplanning doesn't need to be difficult or uncomfortable. There are many local and trusted funeral homes and crematoriums which are equipped to answer any questions you have and help you get your final wishes in order. Contact your local funeral home or cremation provider this week — today, if possible — to start preplanning your final wishes. Ask as many questions as you can, and when you have the answers, you'll be prepared to discuss these plans with your family. In terms of preplanning your final wishes, sooner is truly better than later.