Many people would love some sense of control over their funeral. It's the chance for their life to be celebrated and a time when all attention is focused on the life they led. When a loved one is in hospice care, they may bring up the subject with you. If not, yet they have a realistic outlook on the future, you may want to discuss any specific wishes they have for their funeral or memorial service.
Look for Openings to the Conversation
This is a delicate time, and the topic is especially delicate. You need to gauge when the person is ready for the discussion. You can start to allow room for openings in the conversation by discussing a movie that included a funeral, someone else's memorial service, or a book you read. If the person reacts in a negative way, you can quickly change the subject. However, if they seem relieved and ready to discuss it, you can continue on.
When discussing a loved one's end-of-life care, express how you think you'd feel in their situation. You may say something like, "I have decided that I'm going to pre-plan my own funeral someday. I'd like to be able to choose how I'm presented and how my life is celebrated. I like it when people do that because it helps loved ones feel more connected to them during the service. What do you think of that?" Such an open-ended question allows the person to let you know. If they are interested, you can go on to work with them to plan the funeral service.
Make and Attend a Meeting with the Funeral Home
Pre-planning one's funeral service during hospice care is a bit different than planning it years in advance, but it is something that funeral homes often encounter. You may have a phone meeting or an in-person meeting with a representative of the funeral home to help your loved one plan the ceremony. Some things you may want to bring up before the meeting include:
- Song choices that the loved one wants at the funeral service. If they're unsure, you may want to make suggestions.
- Memories the person wants shared.
- Autobiographical information the person wants included in their obituary.
- People the person would like to eulogize them.
- Pallbearers they'd like to choose.
- Wardrobe choices.
- Casket preferences.
Offer Access to Spiritual Counsel
Even if someone has only been slightly interested in religion, someone who is in hospice care may want to speak to a preacher, priest, rabbi, or other person with authority in their religion. You may ask the religious leader for help in approaching the topic of discussing the funeral service. If the sick person wants help picking out Bible verses or spiritual quotes for the service, the religious leader is one of the best guides to help them express what they want to say in the funeral service.
Finally, keep in mind that you need to let your loved one lead the way. Not everyone is going to want to plan their funeral service, but many will. Be sure to communicate to them how much their life and your relationship to them means to you. Often, people put off saying sentimental things until the funeral, but the living need to hear that even while they're here even if they have a hand in planning their own memorial service.
For more information, contact Foster-Warne Funeral Home or a similar location.