Although many people don’t like to think about it, everyone’s life is going to end at some point. Understandably, this thought is often overwhelming, especially when you have aging parents or other relatives who have a limited amount of time left to spend with you. The good news is that if you’re lucky enough to have family members that took the time to make funeral arrangements in advance, you can focus on working through the letting-go process rather than frantically managing the intricate details of planning a funeral in a matter of days.
Consider the Benefits
One of the more controversial and often emotional decisions to make is deciding whether to be buried or cremated after you die. Although a traditional burial has been the primary choice for generations, more people are beginning to realize the many benefits of choosing cremation for themselves and their loved ones. In addition to the environmental factors associated with cremation, the cost savings are quite significant. Keep in mind that funerals are no longer limited to only casket burials. Whether you choose to have your cremated remains buried, placed in an urn, or even scattered in a special location, you can still have a funeral.
If you’re like most people, you don’t want to leave your loved ones the task of planning your funeral from start to finish. That’s why it’s best to begin the planning process as early as possible. When you’re ready to begin preparing for your funeral, you’ll want to sit down and write out your honest answers to a few key questions. Be sure that you carefully evaluate how your answers could affect those who care about you once you’re gone. A few questions to ask yourself include:
- What type of memorial service do I want?
- If I’m cremated, do I want to have a burial as well?
- Do I want to have a service at the crematory?
- Do I want a reception after my funeral?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can then begin to make choices that are more specific. Many families have to take into consideration the geography of where their family members live so they can ensure that everyone they love has an opportunity to pay their last respects. Some important things to plan and discuss with your friends or family members include:
- Your top one or two choices for your funeral or memorial service
- A couple of choices for people you would like to officiate
- Whom, if anyone, you may want to deliver eulogies
- Any organizations or groups that you want to receive notification of your passing
Handle the Details in Advance
Whether you’ve helped plan funeral arrangements for a loved one, or you’re completely new to the process, you may already know that there are a lot of details involved in creating your ideal memorial experience. In fact, that is another great reason for choosing cremation over a traditional burial. Although there are still a number of details to manage with a cremation, your flexibility in dealing with the remains is far greater than that of a traditional burial. For example, unlike burials, cremation remains can remain in the possession of the deceased’s family members until they’re ready to store the ashes in their permanent location.
Embrace Your Individuality
When it comes to planning your memorial service or ceremony, you should consider personalizing the event according to your life experiences and unique personality. Another benefit of planning ahead is that you can make all of the decisions to ensure that your life is represented according to your personal preferences and desires.
Give Your Loved Ones Time to Mourn
After losing someone special in their life, many people cannot even begin to think about attending a funeral until they’ve had time to reflect and deal with their own feelings. Unfortunately, with a traditional casket burial, the body must be laid to rest within a very short amount of time. However, cremated remains do not come with such a restrictive time limit. Not only can that give your friends and family time to digest the change in their lives, but it can also give them the time they need to realize that your life is something to remember with joy.
Throw a Party
A popular way to honor those who have passed is to hold a more modern “Celebration of Life,” rather than to mourn their death with a traditional memorial service. If you’re one of the many people who would rather have a party held in their honor after they die, the extra time cremation can provide may help you make the right choice for you and your family.
Remember, You Are Not Alone
Whether you find yourself planning a funeral for a loved one or you decide to take the first step toward getting your final arrangements planned and paid for, you do not have to handle it all on your own. At Neptune Society, we understand that the main goal of a memorial is to remember the people you love, and to celebrate their life respectfully. Although it may seem like a daunting task, taking the time to make all of the crucial arrangements for yourself after you pass can help you relax in knowing that your family won’t have to carry that burden once you’re gone. Look at it as a gift you’re giving to yourself and to the people you love the most.