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Should I plan my funeral now?

(23 Posts)
elderflower1 Sun 25-Sep-11 13:08:46

This question was prompted by a response on another thread and also because husband and I are in the process of making wills.

When my mother died she had paid and planned her funeral down to the last detail. This was very comforting for me because all I had to do was to contact the funeral director. At the time I thought this was a really good idea but some other members of the family and friends did not agree. They wanted to make changes to the plans but being the person responsible for carrying out my mother wishes I kept to the plan.

However I have since had time to reflect on the questions surrounding a funeral. Primarily who is the funeral for? I think it is for the people who are grieving and being involved in making the arrangements encompases their grief. Also if I make a funeral plan it feels as if I am controlling even after death. However as I said I did find my mothers plan a relief and comforting.

My dilema is do I plan and save my family the stress of arrangeing a funeral or do I allow them to do what they think is most appropriate for them.

Gally Sun 25-Sep-11 13:31:14

Not sure on this one Elderflower.
My Dad hadn't planned anything for his funeral - so I did it and found it very cathartic. Yes, I did it for me and chose the music and readings I wanted and also of course included stuff he would have appreciated had he been interested! My Mum left copious notes on what she wanted which we kept to. I think I will probably do the same but the family can add other bits and pieces (say nice things about me maybe) I would want my funeral to be a happy, colourful affair, reflecting on what (little) I had achieved in life and so on, rather than be a sad, gloomy affair. I always find the gathering/wake after funerals rather jolly - meeting long lost friends and relatives - nothing like a bit of a party!
On the other hand, a friend's mother died recently and as they spend a lot of time abroad, they had pre-arranged her funeral (with the Co-op!) just in case something happened while they were away. It did - 2 days before their daughter got married in New York, so it was a great relief to them to return home 3 weeks later and have everything prepared and all they had to do was pitch up at the Crematorium - friends and relatives having already been notified by the Coop.
Big decisions for us all - not sure if I could discuss it with my children though.

elderflower1 Sun 25-Sep-11 13:46:00

Thanks gally I was wondering about asking my children but don't think I can discuss iit with them either.

greenmossgiel Sun 25-Sep-11 13:55:06

No - I'm going to leave it to my bunch to sort it the way that they'd like to. They can discuss with each other what they'd know I'd have liked (therefore it won't be a gloomy affair). No doubt they may disagree about who should say what, because one or the other of them may not be able to stand up and say something. But I'm confident that it'll all work out fine. They'll feel good because they'll have done it for me. smile

raggygranny Sun 25-Sep-11 14:28:24

I have written down a selection of readings, hymns, poems etc as guidelines for my children, so that the funeral can be both something they have put together themselves and something that they know reflects my own beliefs and interests.

dorsetpennt Sun 25-Sep-11 14:28:31

I pay into a Funeral Plan with LV and have already outlined how I want my funeral. When I told my children they were quite upset as they thought I was terminally ill. However, I re-assured them and just said that I wanted to be able to help if and when - also in case there were any arguements about my funeral they have it in black and white

pompa Sun 25-Sep-11 16:07:54

Hi all, my brother, who recently died, organised his own funeral etc. right down to the last detail. he took his daughter along to help him. They both seemed very comfortable with this and I think it gave him peace of mind to know that others did not have to rush around after the event.

Sbagran Sun 25-Sep-11 21:50:54

I lost my mother nearly two years ago and several years prior to her death she and I sat down one day and sorted out exactly what hymns, readings etc that she wanted. Mum was practising Catholic (as I am) and her religion was very important to her.
Obviously she didn't know exactly when she was going to die and, let's face it, I could have been run over by a bus and killed sometime prior to Mum's death.
Had that happened my brothers would have organised Mum's funeral. Neither of my brothers are religious (in fact one is very anti!) and sadly both were more intent when Mum was in her last months (and indeed when she finally died) to 'save' her money.
In the months prior to her death I was told in no uncertain terms by both brothers that I should not allow Mum to 'waste her money' on having her nails manicured once a month by a 'nails at home' lady! Mum was always very particular about keeping her nails neatly trimmed and polished and it was hard for her when she could no longer manage them herself and obviously the care staff did not have the time to really pamper her in that way. The monthly manicure was a treat she loved and she was spending HER money - the princely sum of £17 a month!!!
A full Catholic Funeral consists of the coffin coming into Church overnight, the night before the funeral, a Requiem Mass and committal followed by burial or cremation. Obviously this does cost but we respect the dead body and it was important to Mum to have a proper Catholic funeral.
Her wishes, complete with the readings, hymns etc were included in her will but if she hadn't done that, and I had pre-deceased her, what sort of funeral would my brothers have arranged? Yes, the cheapest possible because, of course, whatever money left was to go to them.
I firmly believe that it depends upon each individual to decide whether this action is right for them or not. In my Mum's case it was great - there was aggro from my brothers over other things but they could not argue over that and Mum got the religious funeral that she wanted.
Forward planning made my job so much easier, as had she not done so, I dread to imagine what would have happened with my brothers - two against one!
My children know that I have sorted my funeral and all three have said that it's great as they know how important it is to me but admit they wouldn't know what readings or hymns were special to me. If talked about sensibly there is no need for it to be morbid or gruesome and in Mum's case she knew all was going to be fine when the time came. She made it easier for me bless her!

elderflower1 Mon 26-Sep-11 11:19:44

sbagran Bless her indeed. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and to others who contributed. I understand that for someone with a strong faith the funeral service is very important. However neither OH or myself, or my children for that matter, are religious. After some discussion we have decided to leave it to the children to arrange, they know us well and and we trust them to do something appropriate.

Decision made, now all we need to do is get the wills done and filed and get on with the rest of our lives.

Totrirulody Mon 26-Sep-11 20:46:38

Oh, please, make some plans and tell your loved ones what you want. I have had the most traumatic time with my mother's death and conflicting instructions for my brother's deaht. Please make sue you say what you want or don't want, discuss it with your loved ones, it will avoid such pain.

fieldwake Wed 19-Oct-11 11:11:38

Can't afford to. Could donate my organs to get it paid for?

harrigran Wed 19-Oct-11 12:22:11

Have decided to outlive all my relatives and let the state dispose of me as they will.

supernana Wed 19-Oct-11 12:29:45

Not a priority. Need the funds for living. My disposal [after any working parts removed to benefit others] needs to be cheap and cheerful.

Gally Wed 19-Oct-11 13:05:21

Super A whicker basket and then across the water to Valhalla then! smile

supernana Wed 19-Oct-11 13:58:41

Gally To the strains of Westering Home from a "merry" band of friends... grin

jinglej Wed 19-Oct-11 14:10:17

Ooh, I like that song. "Westering home with a song in the air...." Used to play it at school assembly, they did.

nannysgetpaid Wed 19-Oct-11 15:17:05

Have told my lot that I don't want a funeral. Let a funeral director dispose of me and the rest of them have a party. My eldest DIL is to organize it and all I ask is that they play BAT out of Hell. I just love that song!!!!!!!!

GadaboutGran Fri 04-Nov-11 13:04:19

My mother has arranged everything about her funeral down to the last detail - in her usual controlling style.
Well, it means less trouble for me I suppose, though my petulant inner child wants me to ignore her plans, but no doubt equally controlling older sister will take it all over. When my Dad died I arrived within about two hours of his death and his body had been dispatched, they were half through planning the funeral service with the funeral director, so no place for me or my grief then.

When my teenage daughter died I wished I'd been more clued up on her favourite music etc but her brother, sister & friends helped there & her funeral was amazing, first acknowledging the depth of our pain then rising in a crescendo as she went out to 'A Girl from Ipomeno' on the saxophone (she was a sax player).

I don't want to be controlling like my mother as funerals are really for those who are left behind but I do want to be helpful and so have typed some ideas in a file on my computer. Having had the major stress of burying a child, we have found it hard do to arrange other funerals so I'm releasing family from any burden so they mustn't feel they have to do anything much if they can't or don't want to. A small simple ceremony to acknowledge their loss is fine and if they want to celebrate my life later they are free to do so in any way they want.

elderflower1 Fri 04-Nov-11 16:44:15

So sorry gadaboutgran that must be the hardest thing that a parent is called upon to do for a child. Much harder than for a parent where although hard it is the right order.

jingle Fri 04-Nov-11 17:21:22

Why would you even want to think about?!

Enjoy living and let yer family worry about the other stuff when the time comes.

I can't think of anything of lesser importance to anyone than their funeral!

gracesmum Fri 04-Nov-11 17:35:45

Making a will is absolutely necessary but other than any strong feelings about burial/cremation etc I would leave well alone. It's not as if you are going to be bothered when it happens anyway.
DH had major cardiac surgery last jan for a large aortic aneurysm in an iffy place and I felt I had to have "the conversation" - just a couple of details as I wanted to respect his wishes if it came to it. It would have made a distressing time even harder if I had tried to "second guess" what he wanted. We had a very short conversation and fortunately quite unnecessary at the time. There is nothing wrong with being matter of fact and it is easier when you feel of sound mind and body. I am shocked that our DD and SIL have not made a will and have tried to point out tactfully that they have a toddler (soon to be 2 children) to consider plus potentially quite a lot of money/property and should indicate who they would want to be his/their legal guardians and how they want him/them brought up..

silverfoxygran Fri 04-Nov-11 19:31:19

I have listed everything my family will need to know - name of pension provider,credit cards, bank account, car and house insurance etc. My DH is disabled and I wanted to be sure that the children knew GP and hospital details etc. I told them where I filed this information as I just wanted to make it easier for them. ( They refused to discuss my demise!)

BUT as far as the funeral goes - I think they can decide - only one request, cremation not burial. If I was going to choose a tune it might be 'So long it's been good to know you.' - 'cos it has!

shysal Fri 04-Nov-11 20:22:02

I have also listed all my relevant bank and pension details, National Insurance number etc. I have added to this list a request that I be cremated in a rainbow coloured whicker coffin, with a joyful service to celebrate my life. One of my daughters was not impressed when I showed her and refused to discuss the possibility of my death.

My father wanted a humanist funeral, being non-religious, but on his death my mother insisted on making arrangements for a church service. I suppose , as stated above, she considered that it was for her benefit rather than his.