Talking about death isn’t easy. It’s even more difficult to have those conversations with people that you love. That’s probably why only 21.4% of people make funeral plans in the first place. But it’s a discussion that needs to happen before an accident or illness occurs. It not only protects your interests and wishes, it also helps prevent family squabbles over what should be done if nothing is specified.
Our cremation specialists have had a lot of discussions about death over the last 20+ years. Each one has enriched us and helped us have productive, supportive conversations. Here’s what you can do to make discussing funeral plans with family members easier all around.
Don’t Force the Conversation
Although it’s a fact of life, even the most practical people can have a really hard time hearing about a loved one’s funeral arrangements. If your loved one isn’t very receptive at first, let it go. Try again in a week or if it’s relative in another conversation you have later. You may also want to enlist the help of another family member if having the conversation is difficult.
Be Sensitive to the Fact Their Views May Differ
Funeral arrangements are an extremely personal thing, and everyone has their own idea of what a funeral should be. When a loved one’s funeral plans differ from what we envision ourselves, it can feel conflicting. That’s especially true if you want a new, novel service such as water cremation instead of traditional flame cremation or burial.
If a loved one has a serious issue with your end of life wishes, then allow them to step away from the process if they want. You shouldn’t have to compromise what you want for your funeral arrangements because it doesn’t fit someone else’s plans. And others don’t have to agree with your ideas or participate in them if they feel uncomfortable, but they should respect your wishes.
Be Open to Answering Their Questions
A lot goes into a funeral and it’s unique for each person. Some loved ones may question why you are making certain choices. Again, everyone pictures a funeral differently so people will naturally wonder why someone would want a funeral nothing like what they’d have.
Loved ones may also ask why you are making funeral arrangements now and worry that something is wrong. While some people do put off funeral planning until a life experience motivates them to get arrangements in order, many people simply want things prepared so it’s one less thing to worry about. You’re not obligated to explain your motivations, but it may help loved ones get onboard with your plans.
Time the Conversation Right
While you’re out to dinner with the family may not be the best time to drop the news about your funeral plans – even if it’s easier with everyone together in one place. With topics as sensitive and emotional as death, it’s better to time the conversation so that it happens in a private, comfortable environment.
It may also be best to tell family members one-on-one or two at a time. If that’s the case, you might want to time the discussions so that certain people are told before others.
Listen as Much or More Than You Talk
You’ll get more from any meaningful conversation by listening at least as much as you talk. You’ve had time to think things through, but family members may be processing a lot when they hear about your funeral plans. They may need to talk it out and let their feelings be known.
Give them the ability to speak their mind. Really listen to what they are telling you about how they feel and what they are thinking. Take in their body language to better understand how comfortable they are in the discussion.
The team at Green Cremation Texas is available to talk anytime. Call our Texas funeral home 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We can answer all of your questions about green cremation, provide advice on cremation planning and help you make funeral arrangements for after the cremation is complete.