The only things for certain are death and taxes, or so the old saying goes. We plan for our taxes, so why don’t we plan for our death? I’m not suggesting we plan our demise, but we could arrange for what happens when the time comes. We’ve written in this blog about end-of-life planning, so this time we’d like to discuss planning a memorial service for yourself.
When we pass, our loved ones are faced with an endless stream of questions regarding how to handle your affairs, from the disposition of your body (burial, cremation, etc.) and what type of memorial service to have, to how to manage your assets. Answering all these questions while grieving your loss is a lot to ask of the people we leave behind.
Choosing a Location
The first step in planning a memorial service is to choose a location. The location could be special to you, such as a favorite park, beach, or restaurant. Alternatively, you may prefer to hold the service at a funeral home or religious institution. When choosing a location, consider the number of guests, accessibility, and cost.
Selecting a Theme
While not necessary, choosing a theme can help create cohesion when planning a memorial service. Consider incorporating your favorite hobbies, interests, or quotes into the theme. For example, if you love gardening, you could ask to decorate the service with flowers and have it in a garden setting.
You know better than anyone who you’d like to be at your memorial. You’ll want to ensure that all your friends, family, and colleagues are invited to attend. Make sure to provide the contact information for all guests, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and even mailing addresses, as this information will be needed when the time arises.
Planning a memorial service program
Planning a program for the memorial service provides an outline for the event and provides a sense of structure. The program can include a welcome, readings, music, and a eulogy. Also, consider including a slideshow or video highlighting your life’s special moments and achievements. Consider giving others a chance to contribute their memories of time with you.
Planning for a memorial service reception
After the memorial service, many people choose to hold a reception or gathering. This reception can be a simple gathering at home or a more elaborate event at a restaurant or event space. When planning the reception, consider factors such as the number of guests, the location, and the menu. You can serve your favorite foods or drinks or decorate the space with items that reflect your personality or interests.
Planning a memorial service for oneself is an act of compassion and consideration toward loved ones left behind. By taking the time to make decisions regarding the location, theme, guest list, program, and reception, you can alleviate the emotional and logistical burdens on your family and friends.
Planning for a memorial service allows for a personalized and meaningful farewell, reflecting one’s unique life and interests. You can ensure your final gathering truly reflects who you were and the impact you made. Taking control of one’s memorial service planning is a practical and loving gesture that provides comfort and support to those left behind during a difficult time of loss.