I never thought I would write anything pertaining to preplanning a funeral, but since my husband and I recently did that very thing, I thought I would give it a try. I don’t intend to be gruesome about it, because it wasn’t gruesome at all. It all began when we went to church to hear a presentation by a representative from a local funeral home. Mostly, we learned about the importance of having your plans already in place, so that other family members won’t have to plan it at the time of your passing. Waiting until then leaves too many decisions to be made in too short of a time. This reminds me of an article I read that compared planning a funeral when you have only a matter of hours to planning a wedding when you have a matter of weeks or months. So many of the same things had to be decided, such as finding a place for each to be held, as well as the announcement in the newspaper, and deciding on flowers and food. Another point that was presented by the speaker was the cost of funerals going up every so often, and the benefits of paying ahead.
Our meeting at the funeral home went very well. We were asked several questions about what we thought of either cremation or a regular burial. Maybe you have never thought much about either one, but when it comes right down to it, your wishes will be addressed, whatever they may be. Once that decision is made, then you go down the list of questions which pertain to the type you have chosen. If you choose cremation, you don’t have to decide on nearly as many points as you would for an open-casket. For this, the cost is much less. One of the most interesting things we found was that they have a two-compartment urn, that is for the ashes of two persons, not just one. At the time of the first spouse’s passing, his/her ashes would be put in one of the compartments, and the urn would not be buried until the passing of the second spouse. Then, at that time, a plot at the cemetery will be prepared, and there will be a burial of both spouses, in the urn, and have just one headstone for both. And, of course, the expense will be much less than a casket for each, and the need for two plots.
One important point that I have thought about in the past, pertains to having food for the family and friends. It pertains to where to have the food, and how to get it there at the time of the funeral. We have attended funerals lately that have had a catered meal right at the funeral home after the viewing hours, while others have had carry-in food at their church after the burial. Also, they would discuss the service itself and your wishes would be carried out in a very professional manner. For men who have served in the military, they will need a copy of their discharge papers in order to provide the benefits offered because of having served. Also, if the passing should take place while the deceased is out of state, or at any distance from home, the funeral home offers a plan to transport the deceased back home. Paying ahead would mean that the cost would be much lower than the cost would be if you had to pay full price at the time of the passing. And all of those transportation plans would be carried out by the persons at the funeral home who know how to handle them.
Ever since we completed the plans for our funerals, we have been at peace with the whole situation, knowing our family will not have to take care of so many necessities at the last minute.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.