My Not-so-Grand Speech
If I were asked to stand up and give a big ole speech to a big ole audience, you know what I'd say? Please do your family a favor and make prearrangements for your funeral. (Although the sidebar on that is that you'll have to start paying on it right away to hold your prices.)
The number one thing I've heard (usually via my father, the funeral assistant) is "it's so morbid!"
Guess what? Death is morbid.
Not only that, but stop a minute and think what's more painful:
A. Sitting in a nice office (for maybe an hour or so) with a warm, smiling person, discussing what charities you'd like to see some donations to or what music you'd like to have played, things like that. (Or, if you're in my family, making sure that it's set in stone that everyone laughs, tells stories and has a good time, like we did at my granddad’s funeral.)
B. Your family sitting in that very same office, making those very same plans, through their grief; when all they'd rather be doing is sitting at home in their sweats with some chocolate and cheerful movies. (Or if they're depressives like me, sleeping. And having chocolate.)
I'd choose A.
(Okay, I'm biased, because I know I'd be sitting down with friends to iron things out. But still…!)
You know what I've heard, personally?
"Oh, they know us down at the funeral home. They know exactly what we want."
(Perils of living in a small city, let me tell you.)
No one ever stops and thinks how ludicrous that is…mainly because they never stop and do the math.
I live in a city of roughly 10,000 people. If we assume that 80% of the population will use the funeral home I used to work at, 15% will use the other funeral home in town and the remaining 5% will use a funeral home in one of the surrounding cities (or out of state), that's 8,000 people that the funeral directors are supposed to "know" arrangements for.
No. Just no.
Plus, you have a big advantage over someone who doesn't preplan.
You can do anything you want!
(If the director or prearrangement specialist looks at you like you just came from the planet Zot, nail 'em with that same look.)
Motorcycle nut? Have your peaceful ending in a bike-drawn coach.
Or maybe a covered wagon is more your style. Funeral homes can do that. (Seen it done locally…especially since I believe it belonged to the client's family.)
The one that sticks out in my mind? The former high school drama teacher who loved purple so much, they had a custom-painted casket done for her.
I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to find the picture! Isn't it amazing?
Maybe you'd like your service at home or in a special location. Green burial is a hot thing now and more funeral homes are doing it. (And cemeteries to go with them, thank goodness!)
My favorite option? (I'm actually considering this for my mother…she doesn't know, though. xD ) Turning your loved one's cremains into a tree.
Have I planned mine, yet? Once, unofficially…I slipped it into my dad's will folder, but when I went to check on it later, it had poofed. (I don't remember what all I said, but I'm sure it involved trees/outside, weather permitting and Enya music.) I've had my own plot since I was eighteen…it's under my dad's name, but he took the money out of my college account because I felt $100 was a steal. Little too close to the driveway of the little country church, but it's the nearest cemetery to the house my parents built (even though I haven't lived there since I was eleven) and that's what's important to me.
I hope you take time to plan yours, too, dear reader…soon, before it's too late to have your own say.