November 1, 2010
There comes a time when it is too late to save you family the stress of having to organize your funeral.

There comes a time when it is too late to save you family the stress of having to organize your funeral.

CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – No one likes to think about death, let alone plan for it. Discussing mortality can be an uncomfortable topic.

As difficult as it may be, a wise family ensures that everything is in place before death occurs. The emotional upheaval of coping with a death is enough to bear without having to make all the difficult and permanent decisions that are required.

But Rod Attwell, a funeral director with Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes, recommends pre-planning your funeral to help your loved ones make it through a difficult time.

“When you and I refuse to discuss and plan for our own funerals, we can be assured that we are going to be leaving some loose ends behind,” Attwell said at a recent seminar. “Our surviving family members are going to have an incredible amount of pressure placed on them at the worst possible time.”

Families can have peace of mind by making their own funeral arrangements during their living years, rather than leaving loved ones behind to arrange things alone.

Others will be relieved knowing the dead person’s wishes have been expressed. Nothing can take away the pain, but planning ahead will help ease the burden.

“Death is messy, and death is traumatic. When death occurs, people just don’t behave rationally.”

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Atwell noted that in some cases, families spend many sleepless nights caring for the dying person before his or her death. In other cases, “your family members are going to be in utter shock at your sudden death, your unexpected death.”

When somebody dies, it is common for loved ones to overspend. Emotionally drained and without guidance, decisions are made more difficult. By pre-planning, the uncertain cost factor is eliminated from the equation. Funding funeral arrangements in advance protects families from the inevitable rising costs.

For most people, planning a funeral is an unfamiliar process. By planning ahead, individuals can choose the services that are appropriate for their religious beliefs, values and budgets.

UNKNOWN HOUR

“No one in this room knows the hour of their death. But each of us has the ability to ensure that our family members are going to be left behind with official, concrete instructions and wishes,” said Attwell.

About eight out of 10 men die before their wives. By pre-planning one’s funeral, a family is relieved of having to make important financial decisions during a period of immense grief.

“Although it’s our duty at Connelly-McKinley to bury your loved ones, we know from our 102 years experience in the profession that sadly enough at times we don’t just bury loved ones, we also bury that person’s memories, that person’s life stories, that person’s family history,” said Attwell.

A purpose of the Life Stories Memory Book is to preserve a person’s memories so they are not buried too.

People can connect with loved ones by sharing important stories of their lives. Others can be inspired by extraordinary experiences, wisdom, values and family history genealogy. It’s a biography for future generations to enjoy.