It?s Not Just Another Funeral, It?s My Grand Departure

August 27, 2009

Have you ever though about planning your own funeral? I will admit it; I was taken off guard when I was asked this question. To be honest, I have never thought about my own death. The thought of how I wanted my funeral to go really never crossed my mind. I am always thinking of other people?s funeral. Not that I want anyone I love to die, but I think it is a natural thought process to think about those who we love that could be nearing that point in their life. Maybe it is because I am around death and burials everyday, not sure, but I don?t think it is a bad thing to have in mind how I think I should celebrate the passing of someone I love. But to plan my own funeral and think about my own death, that really through me for a loop.

The topic arose when I was taking with my father about his thoughts on what funeral home he would use when my grandfather passed. It sounds like a crazy topic, and my father thought it was quite depressing, but I hear of situations everyday that result in family feuds because of a difference in opinion between family members. After our discussion I asked my father if he had any requests for his funeral? He immediately flipped the question on me. That?s when it happened. I was frozen. It didn?t seem so weird asking the questions to someone else, but when I was asked, it got really weird.

I am not sure why the thought has never really accrued to me to begin lining up my own sendoff requests. Maybe it is because I am only 26; I mean that is still pretty young right? I know I am not going to live forever, but I plan on living for a good while.

As I began to think about the question, a million thoughts ran through my head. Some of them about the actual funeral, others about the things that need taken care of before I die. Thoughts like: tomorrow is never promised, what will happen to my wife and kids, I don?t have a living will?.I could go on forever. After the rush of panic left me, I was able to really ponder the question.

I answered my father with an embarrassed NO. I spend most of my days planning the passing of others, not myself. I have been encouraging others to be prepared when I myself am not.

Following this exchanging I began to think about the end. To tell you the truth it was pretty gloomy. My initial thoughts were modeled after the traditional funeral. I was really not thinking outside the box. I mean I wanted the normal tribute video, music and a eulogy given by our pastor. That was it. I know the funeral home I want to use and where I want to be laid to rest. When thinking about the funerals for my loved ones and friends, my main concern was the funeral home or director they want to use. I never talked about the details of their service.

It just so happens that a few days after the discussion I had with my father I received an email from a member of letting me know that the authors of ?Grave Expectation: Planning the end Like There?s No Tomorrow?, were going to be on the Today show discussing their book the next morning. The authors; Sue Bailey and Carmen Flowers, are both members of so of course I tuned in. After watching their interview I got a little ?inspired? to rethink how I wanted my funeral to be.

I immediately got online and purchase the book ?Grave Expectation: Planning the end Like There?s No Tomorrow?, from The book arrived two days later and I have been reading it since. I must say it has really put my thought process in another world! There is one chapter in the book that is all questions; the authors even leave you lines to write down your answers. Some questions are simple; others are more difficult. Each question gives you the opportunity to expand your service into a celebration! Of course there will be tears at your funeral but why not try to trump the tears with laughter?

I have not finished the book yet, nor have I fully answered all of the questions. Some questions require much more thought and time to figure out. One thing I know for sure is, as I continue in my process of planning my own funeral, I feel confident that my funeral will be anything but traditional. I am going to think of it as my ?Grand Departure?

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