In recent years, our dedicated staff at Cypress Lawn has helped even more families preplan their end-of-life services throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. There are many benefits to planning your funeral service in advance, from peace of mind for you and your family to saving money on rising funeral costs. Many individuals who preplan their services with us find it difficult to start the preplanning conversation with their families. The topic of death can make many people feel uncomfortable, so some avoid the subject altogether. We know it’s not easy to talk about family members not being here anymore, but the clarity and peace of mind you’ll experience after doing so far outweigh the discomfort.
Here are some tips on how to have the preplanning conversation with your family:
Ease into it.
Let your family know ahead of time that you’d like to discuss an important topic around your future with them. This allows them to mentally prepare for a conversation that may involve serious decision-making. Even when planning to speak with them ahead of time, you may still experience mixed reactions from family members, as not everyone is comfortable talking about death and memorials. Reassure your family that you are preplanning out of love for them and that you wish to relieve them of future stress and complex decision-making duties regarding your funeral services.
Tell your family why you’re preplanning.
Expressing the importance of planning ahead to your family members lets them know how meaningful it is to you and may lead to their being more open to listening and discussing the topic with you. Mention the benefits of preplanning and how planning in advance will allow your loved ones to focus on celebrating your life after you’re gone. Be open to answering any questions they might have about the preplanning process and their role in it. If you don’t have all the answers, offer to help your family find the answers they seek, whether that’s with our funeral home staff or another trusted resource.
Give them space and time to process the conversation.
Discussing end-of-life plans can be stressful and may leave family members feeling unsure about their own thoughts and feelings regarding the subject. After discussing your preplanning arrangements with your family, they may not wish to preplan their own funeral services, which is entirely valid. Once the preplanning conversation ends, give your family members time and space to reflect on the talk and to reach out to you with any questions they may have.