Losing a loved one turns your world upside down and leaves you completely at a loss of what to do and how to function, let alone plan a funeral. The time frame in which you must make decisions regarding transportation from the morgue, the funeral home, type of burial, casket choices, flowers, clothes, music and so forth is very tight. It all has to happen so quickly. I spoke with a close friend over the weekend, who lost her dad 2 years ago. She was chatting to me about how quickly the decisions had to be made after her Dad passed and how overwhelmed her Mum felt. How could she possibly be prepared for the amount of choices she had to make?
Burial or cremation? Casket choice for a cremation? Songs to be played during the service? Who will prepare the photo slide show? Speakers for the eulogy? Favourite outfit to be buried or cremated in? Flowers or do you want a flower free ceremony?
An overwhelming amount of questions to answer, just a few short days after a death. How do we change that? Is it possible that we can make ourselves more prepared for death or a funeral? What exactly would that look like? Should we all fill in a sheet of 'How I want to say goodbye' and just update it as we get older and our favourite songs change? Or could we embrace our mortality and have more conversations with our family and loved ones about what we want. Is it weird to talk about death? Is is strange to plan a funeral if you are young and healthy?
I'm not sure of the answers yet but choose to talk to our kids about life and death often. Our four year old daughter gets sad sometimes and asks why Mum and Dad will die one day. I try to reply with, 'Because that is the circle of life and we all die one day, but just remember how many people will be left here who love you'. Then we go through the names of all our friends, the aunties and uncles, cousins and grand parents. By the time we have finished, she is smiling and feeling pretty happy that so many people love her.
I hope through my online musings, that I can help kick start some awkward or taboo conversations about death and funerals. I want to try and change the way we talk about death and encourage people to tell those around us how we want to be celebrated.
Big love, Nickie