9 benefits of making your funeral wishes Known
Death, dying, bereavement, passing away—whatever you call it, it can leave loved ones with a lot to deal with.
All of a sudden, time stops on one hand and emotions run high on the other!
Not only is there a need to spend a significant amount of money in a short time, but there may be difficult decisions to make, multiple stakeholders to consider, and definitely many detailed things to do that are very different from everyday occurrences.
Making your wishes known allows your next of kin, children, relatives, and close relatives to focus on celebrating your life instead of being saddled with the burden and intricacies of funeral arrangements.
The benefits of making funeral arrangements are numerous. Here are nine of them:
1. Accept Reality
The law of nature assures us that no one can physically live forever. Discussing this prepares you and your survivors mentally and emotionally.
Some people will be high achievers, whilst some will barely make ends meet. Some will be pleasant and kind, whilst others will be erratic and wicked. It is guaranteed that all babies will pass on, hopefully at an old age.
2. Immediate Questions Are your own responses.
Who should be informed first? At which location (s) will a condolence register be set up? What actions should happen immediately? Will there be repatriation if they are in another country?
How soon should the funeral be?
3. Location and Type of Ceremonies
Should it be a burial or cremation?
Where will the internment be held?
So many people want to be buried in their hometown. Often, their children don’t even know how to get there.
4. No Death Penalty
Discussing your father’s preferences today does not mean he will die tomorrow or the year after. It simply means that you will be able to think more clearly at a time when everything is normally confusing.
5. Expectations based on culture or religion
With over 200 unique tribes across Nigeria, there are many peculiar practices unique to each.
Many of them are only brought to the surface and carried out in detail at funerals. So many people are shocked by what their relatives and family expect of them when there is a funeral to plan.
Impromptu preparations are always less expensive than planned ones. People who pre-purchase their vaults, cemetery spaces, or land, for example, deserve a standing ovation. Just make sure this is documented and accessible when needed.
Nobody is caught unawares as regards finances because this has been discussed. If you have set money aside, let loved ones know how to access it and put it to good use. If not, they can start mentally processing the kind of budget that will be required and how to source it.
7. Reduces outside interference.
It’s amazing how many people believe they have a say in the planning of someone else’s funeral. In some cases, relatives that the immediate family have never met suddenly come to be in charge because it’s their ‘right’, in the process compounding the grief.
Contentions are quickly extinguished when your immediate family can show that A, B, and C were your wishes.
8. Soothes the Bereaved
Most funerals are to honour the life of the deceased. The children find immense comfort and peace in knowing they are carrying out your wishes.
It really does give you peace of mind knowing that you’re doing what they would have wanted.
9. Reaffirms Belief
Making your wishes known does not go against any faith. It actually leaves a gift of clarity instead of confusion.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22 (NKJV)
These are a summary of my professional and personal experiences.
My father often mentioned his preferences in the conversations we had. When he died suddenly, my brother, remembering these conversations, helped me navigate a very difficult time.
My maternal grandmother extensively explained her funeral wishes to her children and grandchildren. She also documented them—what, where, when, and even the hyms she preferred. She purchased her place of rest in her life time and left some money for the core expenses. Indeed, her funeral was a stress-free celebration of life.
Start the conversation today…
In memory of my father, Olatunji Adedeji Okusanya, and brother, Olatunji Abimbola Okusanya, who passed away on October 3rd 2013.
Bolanle Okusanya Feyita is the brain behind LTJ Funerals International and the Olatunji Okusanya Memorial Foundation 2022.