When my mom passed recently she left behind no instructions on how she wanted to be buried, what she wanted the memorial to be like, or how she wanted to be remembered. That left it to us, the siblings to decide. That would have been fine if we had agreed on everything. We didn’t. We did come up with a plan but it was based largely on what the funeral director suggested and it was much harder than it needed to be.
In the end, we provided some background information to the person who would be officiating and made selections for music and readings based on lists that were provided. The funeral home did their best to provide great service. They were comforting, responsive, and worked hard. Unfortunately, we just didn’t give them much to work with. As a result the funeral was respectful but extremely impersonal. As I listened to the officiant talk I felt that he could have been talking about anyone. My mom’s name was really just a blank that had been filled in.
The sad part of it was that it wasn’t like mom’s passing was a surprise. She had been bedridden for years and had many trips to the hospital for serious illness. She just didn’t want to talk about it. I can’t help but think that we could have approached it another way and found out what she really wanted.
The same thing happened when my aunt and uncle died expectantly. While it was sudden, they were elderly so not completely surprising.
Thinking back on these funerals makes me sad. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right that these people should go out so impersonally. I’m definitely not going to put that on my children or husband. I have already started my funeral plan and will make sure they have everything they need to make my funeral something they can remember with a smile rather than a tear.