Planning my own funeral was hard. A lot harder than I expected. And let me start by saying that “No, this is not a cry for help” and “No, I’m not dying.” I mean, I am dying, but only because I’m a human and that’s kinda the deal.
Planning my funeral has actually made me think about how much I like being alive. And in some ways made me feel more alive. The taste of coffee, the smell of my wife’s hair, the feeling of the sun on my skin.
You know, being alive feelings.
The reason I decided to plan my funeral is because every week I see grieving families walk in to the pastor’s office to plan a funeral for their loved ones.
I work at a church and watch parents and siblings slowly walk in with bags under their eyes, wadded up tissues in their hands. Talking about this or that uncle that needs such and such hotel accommodations. If the funeral should be on this Saturday or next Tuesday.
There are a lot of choices to be made by people who are struggling under the heavy weight of grief.
And while the family tries to plan travel schedules, order food, and try to upright amidst the swirling waves of emotions… sometimes planning the service just kinda goes on auto-pilot. A lot of people just don’t have the brain space to really plan a funeral service. To pick songs, verses, readings, figure out who should speak, call musicians…
This is why planning your own funeral can be really helpful. Especially if your faith or worldview is pretty different than your family’s. Because if you don’t leave instructions, chances are your family is going to go on auto-pilot.
Just take a moment and imagine how your family is going to plan your funeral:
Imagine who your family will probably ask to do your funeral – Pastor or Funeral Director?
Then imagine what that pastor or funeral director is going to suggest for your funeral. There will probably be 2 or 3 people in the meeting with them. Who is going to have the strongest opinions in that meeting?
Chances are your funeral is going to be somewhere between the most vocal person in that room and the pastor. Because the last thing tired and grieving people want to do is argue about religion or politics in the pastor’s office right after someone dies.
Now imagine all your friends, family, and co-workers sitting through that service.
If that scene makes your heart hurt, I would suggest taking some time to plan your funeral.
And even if your not sure what your family would plan, you are giving them a gift of one less thing to worry about. And maybe planning your funeral might help you feel a little more alive. It did for me.