I know it’s a strange title and quite possibly a stranger blog post to write about but if the last time you thought about your funeral was ‘never ago’ and you think they still comprise mostly of traditional wooden coffins, white lilies and are black tie events then think again.
These days it is getting more and more common for people to arrange their own funeral, with many saying it can be one of the greatest gifts you can give your friends and family in a time when they are mourning and whilst you won’t be able to take a seat in the pews you’ll certainly leave this world exactly the way you want to.
Do you want Granite Headstones, wooden coffins and white lilies? Then of course you can choose those and traditional funerals are as popular as ever although there are also far more extravagant delights when it comes to coffins. From ‘green’ coffins made from banana leaf and water hyacinth to coffins designed and made to suit your interest like a miniature Orient Express or Rolls Royce.
People are choosing all manner of quirky things for their funeral which reflects their personality and this is just one of the benefits of arranging your own funeral. To the outside world beautifully simple Marble Headstones can be displayed in keeping with the graveyard but on the inside you can be buried in what seems to be anything you want along with particular items that you have held close to your heart.
It may seem a morbid thing to think about, but the only way you get to choose how you want your funeral to be is to arrange it yourself.
So, you have decided that it is about time you behave like a grown up and do grown up things. Making a will has been dealt with and whilst you know that you are still young, fit and able, there will be a point when you will die and you would like to pre-plan your funeral to alleviate extra stress from your friends and family in their time of mourning.
From arranging whether your Memorial Headstone will be granite or marble to where you will actually be buried, that’s if you don’t choose cremation, will help friends and family immensely once you have passed away. But how do you arrange your own funeral? The first thing you should do is to sit down with friends and family. This doesn’t have to be a big deal but it is worth discussing with them the sensitive issues of what you would like and also to take into account what they may like. From where you would like to be buried (or cremated) to what you would like everyone to wear on the day (believe it or not, not everyone likes their mourners in black) it helps to discuss these matters as well as actually arranging them so it doesn’t come as a shock to them.
When you are ready, it is time to book a consultation with a funeral home that offers pre arranged funeral packages. They will often offer a free consultation where they will go through everything from how to buy memorial headstone to all the important information they’ll need to see like birth documents, wills etc.
When we think of burials, it is no surprise that to most of us will think of the traditional ritual that has the body in a coffin, buried in a graveyard with a lovely personalised headstone, but these days there is a whole host of whacky and different ways to ‘dispose’ of your body once dead.
How about having part of your remains, in cremation form, being launched into space? These ‘burials’ allow a lipstick sized capsule filled with some of your ashes to be rocketed up into space. If you don’t fancy being launched into space then you could always be buried at the bottom of the sea. Your ashes would be sealed in a reef ball which is then dropped to the bottom of the sea, eventually becoming part of the reef and leaving a permanent living legacy. But then you could always go out with a bang, some companies modify fireworks by incorporating your ashes into them, friends and family get to watch a magnificent firework display whilst wishing you farewell for the last time.
If those options all sound a little too way out for you then you could always have your carbon made into a diamond for a loved one who will then be able to carry your memory around with them everyday on their finger. For the eco warriors out there, then perhaps being turned into organic matter may appeal. Your ashes will be transformed into an organic, odourless, hygienic powder which greatly reduces the impact on the environment.
For some, these new methods may appeal, but for the most I imagine the traditional forms of burial with a gravestone memorial are still the most favoured option.
When a loved one dies there is a lot to deal with, not only emotionally but logistically too. From sourcing the right Gravestones to picking the right flowers, a lot needs to be organized in often a very short period of time. Along with the logistics, thought and time is needed to prepare the funeral ceremony and many people choose to do a eulogy, which needs to be a well constructed, thoughtful speech of the loved one, mainly consisting of his/her life history and details of their friends, family, work, interests etc.
The most touching eulogies are written from the heart and will paint a good picture of the deceased loved one, who they were, what they did and what they enjoyed about life. It is a good idea to talk to family members and close friends and gather information and stories that they have held dear over the years to include. The most important things to include in the eulogy is their age, family and other close relations, education, work, career, hobbies and special interests, places the person lived and special accomplishments.
When you have gathered all the information and know the stories you are going to talk about then its time to start writing. Make sure you write it as you will speak it, don’t get too bogged down with formalities, remember this is a celebration of someone’s life and needs to come from the heart. When you have written it, go over it, refine it, and edit it until you are happy. The next step is to rehearse it, only then will you know whether you are truly happy with the flow and structure of it. Finalise the copy and then keep rehearsing until you are comfortable with how you deliver it. You don’t need to learn it from memory but having a strong idea of the structure and order will help you when you get up and speak. Remember that nerves and emotion will play a large part so you need to be confident in knowing your eulogy. The eulogy can often help people when choosing the Epitaph on Memorial Headstones too.