Reason Number One:
The need to make that first call, the one to the funeral home, nearly always catches people unaware and off guard.
Even when a death is clearly coming it is almost always unexpected. “Mom was 96 but we just talked to her on Sunday, and she was fine. Hospice told us it was just a matter of days, but we just stepped out to the store for a few minutes, and he was gone. She was doing so well, we were surprised.”
When a person dies the first order of business is calling a funeral home to come and take the body into their care. When family doesn’t live close, they may not be familiar with the funeral homes in the area. Which funeral home should be called?
Even with all of today’s wonderful ways to connect it can take hours to track down immediate family members. This one is in a meeting, that one is picking up kids at soccer practice, someone is at the gym and has their phone on silent. It can take a while to reach everyone and get them to weigh in on the decision about which funeral home to call. In the meantime, someone waits.
Reason Number Two:
The people who you love and who love you are going to be very busy just getting there. It’s not a good time to be making the big decisions. Burial or cremation, church or not, celebration of life, which minister, what restaurant, wood casket or metal, visitation the day of service or the night before?
Your far-flung family will be trying to book flights, pack suitcases, arrange for the dog to be taken care of, get someone to fill in for carpool, and get time off work. Their minds will be racing. It’s not a good time to make decisions that they will live with forever. Funeral decisions carry a lot of weight. Everyone wants to get it just right. No one wants to wish they had buried mom in her red dress instead of her blue dress for the rest of their life. Just think how much better it would be IF they just had to get there and meet with the funeral director you selected to review the plans you left for them.
Reason Number Three:
Your family needs time to be together. They need each other. They need to remember the stories, look at the pictures, cry together, and hug one another.
The plan you leave for your children, grandchildren, sisters and brothers, and friends is a gift. You give them the gift of time to lean in and realize that they have lost you. This is precious time they have together. There will still be much for them to do but when you have lifted the weight a little, you leave room for them to work together and be creative. They can pull their talents and put their own touches on the framework of the funeral plan you provided for them.