Funeral Industry News

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

August 27, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

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

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?