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Envisioning the Funeral With Confidence

By Budda Oliver

In American society it is still taboo to discuss one's own plans for their funeral in public. Since the beginning of the modern age, the sights and sounds of one's own funeral have been topics for discussion only behind closed doors, and most usually after one has already passed away. If one wishes to have real control over the events that commemorate one's own death one needs divorce the morbidity and stigma of thinking realistically and practically about death from the actual freedom and creativity that planning a personal funeral ceremony can allow.

While the rules and customs of a personalized memorial service are fairly new and are still in the process of being formulated, at present time, there has scarcely been more opportunity to speak candidly with funeral homes, friends and relatives about the possibility and potential of a memorial service that you yourself would want to attend.

The practice of planning an individualized memorial service has been a part of human cultures for thousands of years. It is well known that the ancient Egyptian pharaohs and noble men would set aside their most treasured objects to be placed alongside them in the pyramids in which they were to reside, but yet for some reason, in the modern era the idea of thinking about one's death in a practical way has become associated with dark themes such as suicide and fatalism.

What the thoughtful funeral planner should recognize is that the hesitations and anxiety of some individuals about the idea of a self-prepared memorial service need not be obstacles to planning a discussion with funeral homes or lawyers about the practicality of a ceremony. Though certainly not the only reason, it may be suggested that the nervousness some people feel about the idea of a self-planned memorial service reflects less a distaste for the idea of personal responsibility about one's own finances, and more an aversion to the idea of thinking about death altogether.

However, in the eyes of the individual with a terminal illness or advancing age, this anxiety can be seen as a fleeing from responsibility. Take the example of an individual who is suffering from the late stages of an incurable disease such as cancer. Once one has received the news from one's physician that the severity of their condition will end in death, and once one has been told a time-frame in which they should plan to live, the idea that one should spend the rest of their remaining time on earth without planning the details of their own memorial service can sound ridiculous and irresponsible to that individual.

Let it be said immediately that in no way is the prerogative of some individuals to want to plan their own memorial service a case against individuals who do not plan their own funeral- these characteristics are nothing but personal choice and affinities that reflect a person's sense of self. Keeping this in mind, there is no reason that an individual with a knowledge and acceptance of their death should not feel entitled to speak with a funeral home about their own arrangements, discuss in detail the content of their will with their lawyer and their inheritors, and make explicit their wishes for their own remembrance- if they so choose.

Doubtless, one will encounter some degrees of skepticism and curiosity when one begins to plan for one's own memorial service, but one should not let these signs of mistrust dissuade. Where matters of grave importance like inheritance and funeral arrangements are concerned, personal initiative is very much the right of the individual.

Mr. Oliver is a marketing agent of Morrissett Funeral Home. The funeral home provides funeral and cremation services throughout the Richmond Virginia area. For more information on their Funeral Services Richmond Virginia please visit their website.


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