pre-need is the best “way to go”…speaking from experience

When our mom died relatively unexpectedly, John Watson (recently retired), a friend of the family, came to the hospital where she died to take her to the Watson Funeral Home in Galesburg, Illinois. The following day we went to see our other friend, Mark Thomas. I call them both “friends”, because they actually were and are friends of the family, and they were both funeral directors at Watson’s. Mark gently helped us plan the day that would change each of our lives forever.

I remember attending several funerals at Watson’s while I lived in the ‘burg. It was always a sad, but caring and calming transitional experience. Fortunately for us, Watson’s was a familiar, comfortable, safe, trustworthy and peaceful place to be, considering the circumstances. Our Aunt Kathy has even been employed there. We had no doubt we were in good hands. We didn’t have to worry about whether or not we trusted this person or home-unlike many consumers. When we were talking to Mark about mom’s funeral, all I was seeing were dollar signs and on the way out of our meeting, thankfully, my Aunt Kathy said, “your mom and dad already took care of that years ago, they have already paid for it” (pre-planned) I was so relieved!  

This has really helped me understand the importance of pre-need arrangements.  The better half and I have it on our “to do” list by the end of 2010 and I encourage everyone to do the same. There are so many details to manage after the funeral, let alone the inability to think clearly only one day after your loved one dies.

If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the ones you will leave behind, they will be so grateful to not have to make these decisions for you with an unclear mind…and if you choose to not pre-arrange, here is a very short list of what you are leaving your survivors to handle in one day (maybe only a few hours):

find a funeral home; arrange visitation, funeral, times, dates; write obituary; create a memorial display; write, decide who will give eulogy; decide on flowers; music; readings; limos; pall bearers; cremation v. burial; grave site; casket, open v. closed; reception; decide on memorials (where do you want donations to go in your memory?)…

These only scratch the surface of decisions that someone will make on your behalf if you do not decide. Help yourself and those you will leave behind (like our parents did with Watson’s) with your decisions in place…make it a goal for 2010. If my parents could do it so many years ago, I promise, you can do it. Peace…

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