Advice on preparing for the inevitable - what can be done now?(11 Posts)
I've just come home from a funeral of a well-loved uncle and, if these things can be lovely, then it was. It was obvious he was known and well loved, it was very personal to him.
I am an emotional soul, and live 250 miles from my folk (good health but in 70s and 80s). We do talk about all sorts and talking about this sort of thing wouldn't be an issue at all. I can imagine that I would find either of them dying overwhelming and tricky to make decisions and think things through properly.
Hence the need to start thinking, hopefully with the idea that it is easier to talk about these things when it is still some theorectical (if inevitable) event which will happen at some in the future, rather than with an ill person in a hospital bed (or not at all).
So, what should I be talking to them about - give me a list, the more minor the better.
(oh the legal and wills etc stuff is all sorted, so this more relates to the non-legal and funeral bit really).
Things I am thinking of:
- where do you want your funeral
- what flowers (just family or not)
- donations - for what
- ashes - where?
- euology - who does it
- is it worth looking at local funeral companies or too soon?
That looks quite a good list. When my dad died, we discovered he'd written his whole funeral service with my brother. It really helped to know we were doing what he wanted.
I'm so sorry for your loss
I am currently in a similar situation, I am planning the funeral of my dear aunt and I have no idea what she would have wanted.
I've also been involved in the funeral arrangements for both my parents and can say the same for those situations.
It's not going to be an easy conversation but I respect how you are thinking. Dealing with grief while having to make these decisions is very hard. I think your list is perfect and I wish I had these answers just now.
I've thought of a couple more:
- do we put a notice in the paper (which one and what would we want to say)
- order of service - do we have one / photocopy / print one
- does order of service have a photo (and which one would I choose, and do I have it)
As I said I'm looking to see what I can think through now with a clear head, even though it may sit in a cupboard for ages. Will keep thinking and add more if it occurs to me.
Thanks for your thoughts.
(It does occur to me that perhaps I should be doing something similar for DH and DCs.....)
The only other biggish one that I can think of is:
What do they want to be dressed in.
Another one (not funeral related) is where do they keep all critical paperwork, and can they write a list of all bank etc details. Also perhaps is their address book up to date (for letting people know)? Had to this for DF a few years ago and it took months and months to sift through and find papers we needed.
Oh, and one more - if they have animals, what would they like to happen to them?
That animal one can be surprisingly upsetting - and time-consuming and expensive. When in doubt phone the local animal shelter, they are usually very supportive.
Hmmm - I'd not even thought about what they might wear - what a thing too have to think about! This is all making me feel like it is the right thing to have a chat about now and while hardly the most cheery of subjects, it's worth doing, and possibly having a big slice of cake at the same time. having said that I'd quite like to have one long list and not to keep going on about it as I think of more things to add.
With regards to animals, when the last dog died a few years ago they said they wouldn't have another one, as they were getting on a bit. However I do wonder if just one of them died, the other one left behind, might get a lot out of having a living creature in the house. But yes, what would happen to that?
The address book is another good thing too. I was trying to get some old photos of Mum for her 70th birthday and it was hard to track down stuff from her childhood.
As for paperwork - I know where the pile of stuff is, but as for formal records and how organised it all is (and could anyone else work it out if there is a system), I have no idea.
Think I will ask them about coffin too. Dad might go for a cardboard one - no point wasting stuff, while Mum might want a more traditional one. And I don't really know, so worth asking.
If you can possibly get them to do a list of bank accounts, ISAs, premium bonds and so on, plus pension providers, life insurance or whatever, that makes life so much easier.
I had to ask my dad what he would want for him and mum, and it was awful, but at least I know now (woodland burial, cardboard/willow coffins, humanist service as he loved the one for his uncle). My great aunt had left very detailed instructions, and it made life so much easier as nothing had to be decided, just actioned.
A lot of funeral directors do pre-plan schemes to set out what your funeral will be like and you can pay upfront in instalments (well worth it a as they can be £££££). That way you would know what they want and the cost pressure would be less.
I think Cruse have a lot of resources on their website that could help you - they have a practical approach rather than morbid, IYSWIM
I'm sure Age UK do a booklet with all these questions (and others) in, with space to write your answers.
We have one........somewhere!
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