Planning Your Funeral
1. Decide what you want done with your body.
You might choose to be buried in a way that is non-toxic to the earth (green burial), cremation, donate your body to science for research or medical education, conventional burial, or you may be buried inside in a mausoleum.
Depending on where you live or rather where you die, you may also be choose from cremation, aquamation, natural organic reduction (the transformation of your body into soil), burial at sea, or you may go one step further with burial at sea to help preserve the marine environment and have your body turned into an eternal reef, or you may have your ashes put in a pod that grows a tree and you may choose to be in a memorial forest. If you choose cremation or aquamation, you may then be turned into a diamond, a piece of jewelry, or memorial stones.
Put your decisions in writing and let your loved ones know.
2. Choose the elements of a funeral service that are important to you.
When envisioning what you want for your funeral, you could include location, who officiates, which songs are played and by whom, who will share a eulogy (can be more than one person), will there be readings and if so by whom, who will be the pallbearers, what kind of flowers, and how much will be spent to make it all happen. If you want a say in your obituary, write it down.
Give as many clear and straight-forward details as possible, and ideally make it as simple as possible to follow, given that the people handling the details will be grieving your absence.
Put all of your wishes in writing and let your loved ones know.
"Don’t let anyone say you’re morbid for doing this. Say 'This is my funeral plan. I love you. What’s your plan? Let’s help each other face the inevitable.'" – Amy Cunningham, funeral director and owner at Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, NY
3. Talk to the people who will be in charge of handling everything when you are gone.
Please excuse the all caps, but this part is so important. Your loved ones will need to know what you want, who to contact to honor your wishes (like a funeral home or the website for mushroom burial), whether you have money set aside for it, and if so, where the money is kept and how they can access it.
If there are certain people you want to do specific things, like sing or speak at your services, let them know what you're thinking, why they are important to you, and request their confirmation now.
4. If you decide to prepay, keep in mind:
* Funeral homes may go out of business which could mean your money would be lost.
* Funeral homes are a business and they may try to sell you packages that include things you don't need or want. Stay clear on your wishes and communicate them kindly and unapologetically.
* Your loved ones will need to know exactly where the paperwork is that confirms you have paid.
Header photo: Zbynek Pospisil/iStock/Getty Images Plus