Funerals and death have always been taboo conversation topics, with the stigma that even thinking about or talking about death and dying can bring about bad luck or energy. With this in mind, we’ve looked at how you can open up and talk about prepaid funerals with family members, focusing the conversation around remembrance and celebrating life whilst removing pre-existing stereotypes or stigmas against funerals and death. After all, a funeral is simply a celebration of a life!
We want to encourage everyone to be a part of planning their own life celebrations, having a say in how they want to be remembered, and even lessening the burden on loved ones after they pass. After all, what better time to plan and discuss how you want your life celebrated than when you’re still celebrating it, day to day?
How to start the conversation and talk about prepaid funerals
Before you start a conversation, have an open mind.
Before you begin the conversation, be aware of any pre-existing stigmas and negative stereotypes you and those you wish to talk to may hold about death and funerals. This is an important point, as it would be harmful to reinforce the negativity surrounding these topics when you begin your discussion with those closest to you.
There are many reasons why funerals and death are stigmatised in conversation, and society has generally reinforced a negative attitude towards the two topics. Think about how you can discuss everything them in a way that will emphasise how you care, and want to make sure your loved ones are celebrated and remembered even after their life.
Be Calm, Open and Reassuring.
When you start the conversation with your loved one, make sure everyone is comfortable and calm. It’s a great time to grab a cup of tea. Don’t be tense, and make sure you are also comfortable with bringing it up in that moment. Since death and funerals are seen as heavier topics, why not open the conversation with a lighter ice-breaker? Some ways of doing so can be seen below.
Discuss or bring up a celebrity death
Celebrity deaths can be a helpful icebreaker for talking about both death and funerals, as they are often followed by large memorial services and public shows of affection. By bringing up the death of a celebrity you know the person cares about - or one they aren’t as attached to, for a lighter touch - you can more easily talk about more personal topics.
We’ve included some helpful examples below:
- What did you think about how this celebrity's life was celebrated, and what were they remembered for?
- How would you like to be celebrated and remembered?
- What do you think you'd prefer for your own life celebration?
Talk about memories and 'the good old times'
Bringing up or asking about your loved one's’ favourite memories is always a good way to get them to open up and become more comfortable in the conversation overall, whilst remembering their own lives. It can also get them to realise that they would like these memories to live on, and can also be another good way to transition into talking about their wishes for their service.
Some questions you could ask include:
- Are there any memories you want to pass on and have remembered by us?
- How would you like these memories to be remembered and passed on to future generations?
- Where are the photos, letters or mementos that you love best from that time?
What's your favourite?
Another good topic to discuss with those you care about most, can be what their favourite things are. When it comes to planning a funeral, the person’s actual preferences can be overlooked in favour of our own preferences; especially when we are under pressure and grieving. It’s very easy to assume you know what someone else wants!
Some preferences which are good to know include:
- What’s your favourite colour?
- Do you have any favourite types of flowers?
- Would you prefer a smaller or a larger memorial service?
- Have you got a favourite place?
Do you like being prepared?
Appealing in particular to those who enjoy being organised and ready for everything, asking directly whether they have a plan for what would happen if an older family member passes away can be another way to open up the conversation. While this approach is more direct, it can also be highly effective to put the idea of a prepaid funeral on the table from the get go, so you can be completely transparent about it, and get’s the conversation going for something to plan for themselves.
This also allows you to focus on the idea of celebrating their life, and giving them the awesome opportunity to be part of that while they are still living it! You can also use one of the other icebreakers to warm them up to the idea of a prepaid funeral, before going straight into a more direct approach.
Follow up questions include:
- Have you thought about how we could lessen the financial impact of a funeral on the family?
- How could we approach the planning process together?
- Is there anything in particular you would like to happen at your funeral?
What should we do next?
When it comes to a conversation about prepaid funerals, the conversation can go back and forth quite a bit; and there’s no reason to end things after your first chat with your folks. We understand that it’s a tough topic, but we hope that everyone can see the value of talking about prepaid funerals, and going through the planning process together!
To assist you through the planning process, we’ve provided a handy questionnaire you can go through together to consider what you’d like and prefer for a life celebration. At the end of the quiz, you can easily print out the answers and attach it to a Will, or use it as a basis to plan a prepaid funeral. You can access your questionnaire via the button below.