Dealing with the death of a loved one can be extremely difficult and the added pressure of planning a funeral can make the experience almost unbearable for some – but this doesn’t have to be the case. Planning a funeral has always been a taboo subject in our British culture, with many of us choosing to take a more traditional ‘stiff upper lip’ approach. It’s considered normal to avoid talking about death and making arrangements for our own funeral is almost unheard of, in everyday conversation at least.
It’s often regarded as a ‘depressing’ topic with many feeling awkward or uncomfortable talking about dying or death. But Gareth Coles, director of Coles Funeral Directors, thinks it’s time to start seeing your funeral more as a celebration of life, and, by planning your own, you will be able to personalise the experience, taking into account every small detail.
To plan or not to plan, that is the question?
For us planning ahead is an obvious choice when it comes to funerals, but we know that it isn’t the way for everyone. Taking the time to think about what you want and planning it out comes with a number of positives and can prove beneficial for your family in particular. With funeral costs on the rise, increasing by 112% over the last 13 years, funeral poverty is an issue that is currently affecting communities across the country.
By choosing a pre-paid plan, this can ensure that your family won’t have to face financial difficulties, and there are packages available to help you to spread the cost. However, one of the main reasons to plan ahead is to ensure you have the opportunity to personalise your funeral to the smallest details.
When planning a wedding, people pick the perfect party planner and/or start planning months ahead, sometimes even years and why is that? Because they want everything to be perfect, creating memorable moments. So why not do the same with your funeral?
Showcase your personality
Picking a special location or a meaningful song, asking your friends to share photographs or mementos, are all examples of how you can add a personal touch to your funeral, allowing your family to remember you in the way you want to be remembered. We believe that every detail matters, and even the smallest addition can make a big difference, and maybe even put a smile on someone’s face.
If you have hobbies or particular passions that have filled your life, you could ask the attendees to wear a particular outfit or your favourite colour. It might not seem like something that will make a big impact but by asking them to wear something specific tailored to you, can help your family and friends to feel closer to you while they say their goodbyes.
Look at Aretha Franklin’s celebrations during her funeral. For her day, the roads leading to the Greater Grace Temple were flooded with a beautiful shade of pink from the thousands of Cadillacs lined up in honour of her song “Freeway of Love” and to reflect the artist’s life.
Consider the service
The most overwhelming and often important part of any funeral is the eulogy. You have the opportunity to make this moment unique and unforgettable by planning this element as well. Ask your friends and family to prepare a personal, and maybe humorous, speech about you and your shared memories – you could even take inspiration from the movie, the Fault in Our Stars.
After all, bringing your personality to the day is what it’s all about if you truly want to bring a personal experience to the day for your loved ones. Take for example famous actress Lynda Bellingham. Her last dying wish was to bring a smile on her friends’ faces and before passing away, she asked if she could have a joyous funeral, to match her bright and cheerful personality. In honour of her wish, her friends turned her funeral into an “all-signing, all-dancing knees-up” event to celebrate her.
Preparing for your death can be a scary prospect and planning a funeral is often one of those life events that many of us choose not to think about, leaving the responsibility to our loved ones. But by planning ahead, you can make sure that the occasion will reflect your life, opting for a celebration of life to help your loved ones say goodbye. We would never want to see our family and friends suffer so why not give them one last parting gift and plan a heartfelt occasion? Celebrities have started to take this approach and we love their creative, bold decisions. Remember, no detail is too small.