Maintaining the Right Funeral Planning Expectations
Because funeral planning is your final farewell to a loved one who helped shaped your life, you may have high expectations when it comes to the service. It makes sense that you’d expect perfection—after all, you are paying thousands of dollars in funeral costs for a one-day event. You have family members and friends flying in from far away to attend. And you have a funeral director to oversee the details to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
While there is nothing wrong with working hard to make a funeral perfect, it’s a good idea to temper your expectations right from the start. Like any event where emotions will be high and extended family will be gathering together, there are bound to be hiccups and setbacks. Preparing to handle them before the day of the funeral can help things run smoother overall.
- Expect Old Arguments to Resurface: If your family has a history of fighting, or if there are unresolved issues between friends, you may see some tempers flaring. It is acceptable to ask friends and family members to put away their differences for the funeral, but because emotions are already stretched to their limit, there may be a need to assign a mediator for the day.
- Not Every Guest Will Behave: In an ideal world, everyone will have caught up on their funeral etiquette and will arrive in the appropriate mourning attire. This is rarely the case in the real world. Somebody may talk too much during the service, too much alcohol may play a factor in assuaging grief, children might be brought along even though you specifically asked them to be left at home. In many cases, the only thing you can do is be gracious and allow everyone their own method of grief.
- Catalog Purchases Don’t Always Translate: If you buy an urn or casket online or from a third-party vendor, you rarely get to see it before it is unveiled at the funeral. Funeral flowers might appear different from what you had envisioned in your head. Even your dear departed might not look quite as you expected in the clothes and makeup picked out for the viewing. Try to keep your imagination at bay as much as possible in the days leading up to the funeral—and if you have any concerns about casket quality, buy one from the funeral home that you can view ahead of time.
The best way to handle these (and any other complications that arise) is to find support where it is available. Do not plan a funeral alone if you have family members willing to lend a hand. Put your trust in a funeral director who has overseen thousands of similar events. And in death, as in life, expect curveballs to be thrown your way. No funeral is perfect—but you can still make the most out of your final moments with the deceased.
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By Amy Johnson