Preplanning a Cremation

Why you should consider pre-planning a cremation

There are a lot of reasons for pre-planning a cremation either for yourself or for someone close to you.  One of the big reasons for pre-planning a cremation is to avoid cluttering the memorial with the details of  funeral. 

Making a Big decision when you have experienced a loss is a bad idea.

Planning a funeral usually means you have just experienced one of the greatest losses of your life. Ask anyone, making big decisions when you have experienced a loss is a bad idea. And that is the problem.  Too many of us do not plan for the one day all of us are guaranteed to have. And the unfortunate reality is those decisions are left to those who care for us the most. These are big decisions and they will affect those who make them for a long time. But the odds that they will not be good decisions are high because they will be made through a haze of grief. What makes matters worse is that focusing on these details actually gets in the way of finding the comfort and relief that funerals/memorials are supposed to give. Pre-planning a cremation will help ease many of those burdens and doubts.

Grieving is important but closure is what is needed

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things you will go through.  They say time heals all wounds. That may be true but speaking as one who lost their father at a young age,  time does heal the wound, but not the scar. 

Because of the way my father died, I think it took longer for me to “get over it” than others. But that is a subjective view.  My dad and I were close and I grieved his loss. But grieving didn’t bring the closure I needed.  

When my father died I was in a state of shock. While he had planned his death he did not plan anything that came after. There was no official Will and definitely no pre-planning for the funeral.

To make things worse, we were just getting by and did not have the money for much of anything. Luckily he was a veteran, so some of the costs were covered.  But those costs only covered the basics. The headstone my father got was the most basic and simple headstone out there. It may sound funny, but to this day I do not think it reflected the love and honor any of us had for him.

In an almost ironic twist, we used to work together as groundskeepers for a cemetery.  I never understood why people would go to the lengths they did, to care for the graves of their loved ones.  But I get it now. 

 

How we recover from a loved one’s death has a lot to do with How we send them off.

I used to think extended grief was the result of unresolved conflicts. It made sense that people would try to make up for things they left undone while their loved one was alive. As if they were trying to make up for something.  And in some cases that may be true.

I think more often we grieve the loss of the relationship we had. Yes, there is an element of lost time involved.  But I think it is more about our own physical loss; the hole created in our hearts in the space our loved ones occupied before they left. I have come to believe that “Broken Hearted” is not a metaphor it is a state of being. 

 

Memorials are not really about caring for the dead they are about healing the living.

 The point of a memorial is to help fill the hole created by the loss of our loved one and heal the heart. We fill that empty space with memories of our loved ones. Some use hope and faith as a salve for the wound. And many find solace in the love and support of family and friends. These are the things that fill the empty spaces of a broken heart. 

 

Memorials are where we find those things. They are the place where memories are shared and hope is rekindled.  Memorials are where family and friends express their love and support. Each act of kindness, each expression of love, and every memory finds its place in the painful void. Yes, it will take time to heal, but a closed wound always heals faster.  It also gives us the ability to move forward until we are reunited with our loved ones. 

 

Yet in the cloud of grief, the driving factor for the choices one makes while preparing a funeral is to fill that hole with a grand gesture. A gesture equal to the feeling of loss we feel. But that gesture is not what eases the ache in our hearts. It is the memorial. Pre-planning a cremation means that your loved one can focus on the memorial rather than the details of the funeral.

By Pre-planning a cremation you save your loved ones from making some hard choices.

The cost of cremation is the only must-have cost when you choose cremation as an option. The average varies from $800.00 to $3,000. The reason there is such a difference is based on the level of service you require. If you are making all of the arrangements yourself it will be closer to $800.00. If you are having someone else facilitate the cremation, like a mortuary, it will be more. ( If you would like to learn more about cremation compared to funeral cost please see our other article Is Cremation Better than Burial)

Here is the problem with not pre-planning a cremation. Funerals are expensive, at least they are for most of us. The average cost for a basic funeral is between $7,000 and $10,00 dollars.  Many of the expenses of a traditional funeral can be avoided or diminished when you choose to be cremated.  It is OK for you to view it that way because your choice is not attached to the need to make a grand gesture or the idea that how much you spend represents how much you are valued. But make no mistake about it if you do not make those choices, while you are alive, they will certainly become the measure of the relationship for those who have to make the choices after you pass. 

How much money is spent on you after you die, should not be the measure of how much your grieving family valued you, or the relationship. Yet that is exactly how it feels, and how it is often framed by those “helping ” your grieving loved ones make the necessary choices.

When you make the choice to be cremated either for yourself or with someone else you can ease the burden left on those who are most struck by your loss. That is one of the main advantages of pre-planning a cremation.

Pre-planning a cremation shifts the focus from making a grand gesture and place it on having a meaningful Memorial.

Pre-planning a cremation is important because it allows the grieving to focus on healing from loss rather than providing for the dead.   The last memories your family and friends will have of you will be made during the memorial. Those memories should not be tainted by the feeling they could have done more to show the love and respect they feel for you because they were left with some hard choices.

On the more practical side, what can you do to preplan a cremation?

  • Have a will. It does not have to be elaborate or expensive,  it just needs to cover your wishes.
  • At the very least, let your family know your preference.
  • Talk with them about where you would like your ashes placed.
  • Talk with them about the kind of funeral or memorial you would like.

(If you would like help with this I found a website I think you will find useful. It is called Joincake. Here is the link.)

  • Plan for the expenses by setting enough money aside or having an end-of-life insurance policy that will cover the expenses.
  • Think about buying your urn in advance.

If you are pre-planning a cremation and are interested in purchasing an urn please take a look at our artistically designed urn that don’t look like urns.  We have customizable urns that are designed to be displayed in your home until you are ready to place them. We even have urns you can place a picture on and then change it and add an epitaph and name when it is time for the memorial.  Please click on one of the images below to see Everista Memorial’s collection of photo cremation urns or our Picture cremation urns.

Please take a look at our customizable picture urns.

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