Planning My Funeral
Funerals are not the easiest thing to talk about, or the happiest of occasions, but it is something that all us will have, in one way or another. When I picture a traditional funeral, I see people dressed all in black from head to toe, flowers laid over a wooden coffin, the whole event an image of sadness and grief. But that’s not how I picture mine.
You may wonder why I am planning my funeral, when I am barely into my thirties. I am not unwell or been diagnosed with an illness, and there is still so much that I want to do, but I am more than aware that not all of us get to live well into our elder years. I have experienced friends passing away at a young age, and there are always local and nationwide news stories where young people have lost their lives through illnesses, accidents or in suspicious circumstances.
Whilst thinking about my funeral doesn’t fill me with excitement, it also doesn’t feel as morbid as I once thought that it would. The main concern for me, is that I don’t want my funeral to be a solemn and all black affair. I want my funeral to be a representation of me, a time where people can remember times that we shared together. I want them to be able to celebrate the things that I achieved in my life, not mourn for the things that I will no longer get to do.
The first important decision I made was whether I would prefer burial or cremation. It is my opinion that a cremation is more beneficial for the people who are left behind, as there are now so many options as to what can be done with the ashes. I don’t have a place that I would want to be scattered and so I would like my loved ones left behind to each do what they wish with them. If they would like to put me somewhere that they can visit, or have me made into a diamond, then that would be their choice. I am happy to let them make their own decisions.
As for the ceremony, I am not a particularly religious person and therefore have opted for songs to be played rather than hymns. I have already chosen three that I would want, and they are songs that particularly mean something to me. My first choice is a song called ‘Runaway’ by my favourite band, Bon Jovi I remember first being introduced to their music at the age of five, by my Dad, and I have loved this song since the very first time I heard it. I hope that when this song is played it will remind everyone of my love for it, and for Bon Jovi and it will bring a smile to all of their faces. My second choice is ‘Holding out for a Hero’ by Bonnie Tyler. The first time I heard this song was on a film called Short Circuit about a robot called Johnny 5. I was four years old! Whenever I hear this song I remember that movie, and it takes me back to my childhood. It is definitely in my top three favourite songs. Song number three is ‘You are not Alone’ by Michael Jackson. I have chosen this song more for my family and friends than for myself, as I hope that the words will convey my feelings, should I pass away under circumstances where I don’t have an opportunity to say goodbye to my loved ones myself.
I don’t have a particular dress code for my funeral, only that I don’t wish for people to wear black, unless that is the colour that they usually wear. I want people to come dressed how they are most comfortable. That could be a dress and heels, a suit, or just jeans and a t-shirt. Funerals are generally uncomfortable events, without the need to be wearing such formal clothing. I certainly don’t dress that way on a day to day basis so that type of outfit doesn’t fit in with the type of person that I am. As for more specific arrangements, such as the material my coffin will be made out of, or the colour of it, I don’t really have a preference. Those are the types of things don’t really matter to me as I don’t feel one way or another about them. I also don’t have any preference towards flowers, they are things that are more for the benefit of the mourners than the deceased.
I know many people opt to put items of sentimental value in the coffin, such as items of jewellery, but it is my perspective that those items are no longer any use to me and perhaps my loved ones may prefer to have them instead. After the service, I would like a party and not a wake. I picture a room filled with colour, music and fun. All the people who have been a part of my life coming together to share stories, thoughts and memories.
There is quite a lot to think about when it comes to planning a funeral, and some of the decisions are quite hard to make. But it is easier for me to plan my own funeral, ahead of time, than to leave it to my loved ones to worry about at a time that will already be difficult for them. Making my own decisions simply wasn’t enough though, I also have to tell them what I want to happen, or how else will they know? Discussing my funeral will be difficult for my family, particularly my partner and my parents, as it isn’t something that any of us really want to think about, but it is necessary. I have also written my wishes down, so that they will know what to do when the time comes, and I can make these arrangements a part of my Will too.
Over time my wishes will change, I know that as I get older and have a family of my own that what is suitable for me now may not work then and I will need to make sure that I tell my family what I want, and update my written list and Will too. To some this may sound morbid, but to me its a plan, it’s preparation for what could happen. It doesn’t mean that I am planning to die, or wanting to, but I know if it does, my family don’t need to wonder what I would want, they will already know!
If, like me, you have had thoughts or ideas about your funeral, or just want to have something written down so that you can save your loved ones the stress of trying to guess what you would want, complete our contact form below and we will be in touch!