On the surface, the concept of planning your own funeral sounds pretty depressing. After all, who wants to admit that they are mortal? Even those of us who accept the fact that we will one day no longer be on this beautiful planet, don’t like to think about it too often.
Planning your own funeral forces you to come to terms with your own mortality. So, why on earth would anyone want to do it?
The simple answer is that many of us want to make things easier for our loved ones. In addition, many women that I have talked to have expressed an interest in making sure that their funeral aligns with their religious, philosophical and social desires.
Death is the one thing in life that we can’t control. Oh, we may be able to delay it for a while, through good healthy lifestyle choices and even a little luck. But, on the whole, we are powerless to avoid our ultimate destination.
The powerlessness that we feel about death can have a surprisingly big impact on how we live our lives. Many of us even believe that it is impossible to live fully until we have accepted our mortality.
This is why activities like writing a will or planning for your funeral are so important. They give us practical things that we can do to deal with our fear of dying. They may not be able to answer the metaphysical questions that we have about the afterlife, but, they can help to ensure that we leave this world in the way that we want.
Unfortunately, when it comes for planning for our funeral, many of us don’t know where to start. So, to get some advice, I recently sat down with Jon Underwood, the founder of the Death Café movement. Enjoy the show!
Here are 3 tips for planning your funeral according to Jon Underwood.
Did you know that 80% of people in the U.K. have not planned for their funeral or shared their wishes? I’m sure that it’s a similar number in most countries. Unfortunately, these people risk causing their loved ones unnecessary stress if something unexpected happens.
Jon points out that one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your eventual death (even if you hope it will be decades away) is to make sure that you don’t have any unfinished business. It’s never too late to mend a broken relationship or tell someone that you care.
There are also practical considerations to consider. For example, funeral costs can get extremely high. This is especially true since our loved ones are asked to make decisions when they are going through an emotional time. Planning for your funeral can remove some of the stress so that your loved ones can focus on mourning and celebrating your memory.
There are also many new creative ways to deal with your funeral and burial. For example, I have decided that I would like to use a Bio Urn to “become” a tree. Your family can’t honor your wishes if they don’t know them.
When you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, the last thing that you feel like doing is shopping around for a funeral director. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many people have to do when they lose someone close to them.
Choosing your own funeral director can help to reduce the cost of your funeral. It can also ensure that you find someone who aligns with your style and approach to life.
Jon recommends finding someone who you can trust. Even better would be to find someone who actually knows you. Also, don’t forget to choose someone who understands your budget. Trust me, you will negotiate harder than your family!
As a general rule, Jon says that we should stay away from the larger firms and look for an independent funeral director.
In the U.K, the Natural Death Centre can help you to choose a funeral director. A quick Google search will lead you to a similar service in the U.S.
Jon is also working on a reputation-based mobile app called “My Funeral Advisor.” I’ll let you know as soon as this is available.
There are so many questions when it comes to planning your funeral. Do you want to be cremated or buried? What tone do you want at your funeral? Should it feature specific music, messages or readings? Do you want them to play Tina Turner or Blondie instead of Verdi’s Requiem?
The questions also extend to more personal issues. Are there certain people that you want to be invited to your funeral? Are there people that you would prefer did not attend? Do you want to record a video message? What will you say? The decisions are endless and no-one is in a better position to answer them than you are!
No matter what kind of funeral you choose, one thing is for sure – by taking the time to plan your own funeral now, you are doing a big favor for the people you are leaving behind. Who knows, planning your own funeral may even help you to come to terms with your own fear of death so that you can get more from life.
Have you already planned your own funeral? Why did you decide to do this? What did you learn from the process? Please join the conversation.