Planning birthdays and vacations take time, but they’re also more enjoyable to plan because they’re enjoyable occasions.
It is completely understandable that planning for your funeral, or a loved one’s, can be depressing, anxiety-inducing and just not fun. As much as you may not look forward to addressing the details, it is important from a practical, religious and traditional standpoint to address the details of endof-life and passing.
Why to Pre-Plan a Funeral
We have been conditioned to feel we should not talk about death, but it is imperative that we must discuss it. Judaism teaches that life is sacred, and death is also a sacred moment in life, therefore funerals are seen as a life cycle event, and require thoughtful planning. We must consider and plan for death to confront its inevitability.
It’s never simple to have this conversation, but it can be extremely helpful to pre-plan a Jewish funeral. By doing so, it will allow your family to begin the grieving process without the added stress of religious obligations. There are a great number of logistical considerations when a loved one has passed, and by planning them out ahead of time, you’re allowing for procedures to take effect without needing to think them through in the moment, when you’re in a state of shock or grief.
Furthemore, it is healthy to have conversations about death and what it may signify for you as an individual. Your family may endure painful moments surrounding the loss, so it would be wise to avert a planning crisis in this already difficult time.
The Benefits of Advance Planning for a Funeral
There are certainly benefits to advance funeral planning, as it comes with many practical, religious and traditional benefits for your family.
Clear communication of the loved one’s final wishes will prevent a difficult guessing game the family will have to conduct in a mournful time. You must ask yourself if your family tends to disagree on things? Writing out the desires on paper can help ease family members’ stress during the grieving process.
The knowledge of whether or not you want to be clothed in the traditional while burial shroud, or your favorite suit or dress is a decision you can make now so your family doesn’t have to make that decision while they’re grieving.
There is a conversation you can have with your family regarding shiva: how many days your plan to sit, when to host, etc. You can consult your rabbi in advance to begin the conversation about details such as the tahara (traditional purification of the body), tachrichin (traditional burial shroud), the Hevrah Kadishah (people who watch over the deceased and prepare the body for interment).
The Benefits of Prepaying for a Funeral
You may want to consider pre-planning a funeral so you can make sure all the financial arrangements are squared away. This allows your family an undistracted grieving time, when they don’t have to worry about cost.
Along with pre-arranging a funeral, purchasers can prepay, which will be more cost-effective in the long-run. It makes sure that the requisite funds are available to pay for the funeral, regardless of how far in the future death might occur. Also, it is the law that a funeral home must honor the pricing of the time of the arrangement, no matter how much they raise their prices by the actual time of the funeral.
The Comfort and Control of Pre-Planning A Funeral
As people move through their lives, it’s understood that most people aren’t going about their day thinking about their funeral, but as funeral directors, we continuously see the benefits of planning ahead.