Pre-plan your funeral to eliminate stress on your family

By David DeRocco

Taking a pragmatic approach to life is a hallmark of organized people who like to have their fiscal and financial house in order. That’s simply a good way to eliminate the stress often associated with making such impactful life decisions.

Pre-planning your own funeral is another one of those important self-directed responsibilities, but it’s also one some people hesitate to accept or act on. Perhaps it’s because it forces individuals to confront their own mortality or to get them thinking of a world where they’re no longer around. In truth, planning your funeral in advance is a sure way to ensure your expectations for end-of-life celebrations and internment are fully met.

“Typically, people will start to consider pre-planning their funeral at milestone moments, either with the loss of a parent or someone they love, moving into retirement, or perhaps when downsizing,” said Nick McCarthy, Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Outreach with the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation.  “Maybe they had a friend that passed away and they saw the toll it took on their family members having to rush to make all these really specific decisions. That’s truly what becomes the catalyst for pre-planning.”

Owned and operated by the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation and named as the National Cemetery of Canada through an Act of Parliament, Beechwood Cemetery is a full-service funeral home that offers a “one-stop-shop” for families looking for everything from funeral cremation to cemetery burials. Dealing with one full-service company is a key factor for people who are suddenly faced with organizing a funeral, especially when given the number of important choices that McCarthy says need to be addressed in the planning. 

“The first thing that people need to think about is what kind of funeral they want or if they want an open casket or an urn. Next, they need to consider how they want to be buried, either cremation or a traditional burial in a casket. Does your family want a viewing? From that you need to decide if it’s going to be a religious service or a non-religious service, what elements do you want talked about, who do you want to say your eulogy. What music do you want played? These are hyper-personal choices. You can imagine when a family is dealing with these decisions at the time of death how hard it is to step back and think, what was mom’s favourite flower, what was dad’s favourite meal? Who are the people they would really want to speak. Pre-planning eliminates the burden that family members might feel when having to make them.”

According to McCarthy, funeral and burial service is the last great thing you can provide to a family or an individual who has just passed.

“It’s a last moment of dignity, respect, love, and passion that a person gets,” he said. “To be able to do that properly and to guide your family or loved ones so they won’t have to make those decisions is the reason you pre-plan. Determining where you want to be buried is another big decision.  Do you want to be buried in a for-profit cemetery, in a not-for-profit cemetery, or are you part of a military group or RCMP or police. That becomes an element that has to be thought of.”

Arranging your burial at Beechwood Cemetery means you are going to be part of the national cemetery of Canada. It’s a unique location that is not only recognized by the military, CSIS, police and first responder communities, but also dozens of other cultural and religious communities.

“It’s a special place,” said McCarthy. “It’s really reflective of Canada. That’s the unique selling feature for people pre-planning their funeral. We have people who can provide services in a bunch of different languages who also specialize in a number of different services. It’s unique for that aspect.”

Don’t leave the big decisions that need to be made upon your death to others. Start the pre-planning process today. McCarthy said Beechwood Cemetery has many important resources available for download online to help you start the process.

“One of things Beechwood looks to do is to educate. We have a whole bunch of literacy pieces that help you make decisions including our Personal Memory Book. It goes through a lot of the questions you will have to ask yourself, your family, and your friends. I think beyond that, all the resources are aimed at making those hard decisions.”

For more information, visit Beechwood Cemetery online.

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