My thoughts after a particular arrangement conference.

Today was a busy day. We had three death calls and I was the funeral director who met with every family. Now to my bigger firms, three calls may not seem like a lot, but for a smaller family run funeral home, well, let’s just say I was constantly on the go during this twelve-hour day.

All of these deaths were unexpected. Two were in their fifties. One was just doing some physical rehab. All families were devastated. These circumstances obviously made for *really fun* arrangement conferences. (Sarcasm, guys, sarcasm..)

Anyways, during one of these conferences,  a daughter of the deceased casually commented on how she was “so happy” that she was donating her body to science so her kids didn’t have to go through “all of this”.

I commented on how great it was that she was donating her body to science, since the act does benefit others, but quietly wondered to myself what she really meant.

You see, during arrangement conferences, I often cannot say exactly what I’m thinking. Because it’s not about me. It’s about the honoring the dead and working with their loved ones. But now, I do want to comment on that little remark. Because even though donating your body to science is a great thing, it does not save “anybody” from going through “anything.”

If you choose to not have a viewing, your family will grieve.

If you choose to have a full funeral service, your family will grieve.

If you choose to have a green burial, a direct cremation, or a celebration of life, your family will grieve.

You cannot save your family from the heartache that death brings.

You can, however, make it harder for your family, by not talking about your wishes.

You can make it harder for your family by not having a will.

Prepare for the day when your heart stops beating. Love your family with everything you have. And don’t you dare believe for one second, that when the day comes, that they will not mourn. Having a funeral is not a chore. Having a funeral is an opportunity to say good-bye. To acknowledge that a person mattered and made a difference in our lives. Regardless of how you personally choose to honor that person, that funeral is a sign of respect.