An Important Conversation: Talking About Final Wishes

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Friday, January 18, 2019

Sadly, many families face must deal with the situation in which a loved one passes away before his or her dying wishes are made known.

Grieving family members left behind often find themselves lost and confused, faced with difficult decisions and uncertainty about what the departed would have wanted. This unfortunate outcome can be avoided by having advance conversations with your loved ones about their final wishes.

We seem to think we can avoid death by not discussing it. But in reality, by not talking about it, we’re setting ourselves up for a far more difficult experience when a loved one passes. That’s why it’s so important to overcome the fear of talking about final wishes with those you love. But how should you go about starting the conversation? Read on for some helpful tips that will make talking about death and dying much easier for both of you.

  • Pick the right place and time. This important conversation deserves your full attention, so try to find a quiet, comfortable setting when you have plenty of time to talk and won’t feel rushed. Some people feel more at ease at home on the sofa, while others prefer taking a ride or sharing their thoughts about final arrangements over dinner. Give thought in advance to the environment your loved one would likely prefer. If you have siblings, it’s wise to invite them to participate in these talks to avoid hurt feelings and sensitive issues down the road.
  • Don’t push. Your loved one may initially be resistant. He or she might get irritable or try to change the subject.  If this occurs, proceed cautiously. Just let him or her know that it’s something you’d like to talk about when they’re ready to do so. And don’t forget that your family member may not wait for you to broach the subject, so prepare yourself to have the conversation on their schedule.
  • Be a good listener. Remember, this is about your loved one’s final wishes, not yours. Maybe you would prefer a full funeral mass over a small memorial service, but right now, that’s not important. This is the time for your loved one share his or her wishes without judgment.
  • Help your loved one deal with the many practical matters related to death and dying. Discuss advance directives, living wills, powers of attorney, Do Not Resuscitate orders, etc. Find out where these documents are located, or if they haven’t been prepared, contact an estate attorney. Regarding funeral plans, does your loved one want to be cremated or buried? Is there a burial plot? Do they have a particular funeral home or funeral director in mind? Final wishes involve many elements. Drawing up a list of questions ahead of time will help to ensure that you cover the most important topics. Be prepared for multiple conversations. There’s a lot of territory to cover so don’t expect to resolve everything in one discussion. It’s also important to keep in mind that choices can change. Revisit your family member’s final wishes from time to time.
  • Show your full support. Perhaps the most important advice for this most significant conversation is to make sure that your loved one knows that whatever his or her wishes are, to the best of your ability you will see to it that they are carried out.

Talking about the realities of death is hard, especially when it comes to those we love. But the earlier you have the tough conversations about end-of-life planning, the sooner you’ll all feel the comfort of knowing that you’ve left nothing unsaid. If you need help with end of life conversations or final arrangements, please contact us anytime. Our compassionate funeral directors are always ready to assist you.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving  three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations.  For more information, please call us at 215-549-4700 or visit our website.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

What Legacy Do You Want to Leave?

We all want to do something that resonates throughout history. The most promising path to that kind of immortality isn’t through amazing feats or massive endowments. Rather, it’s the result of simp...

The Quick Guide to Choosing a Cemetery Property

Creating a burial plan for yourself or a loved one requires careful thought and decision making. As you embark on selecting a cemetery, it is a good idea to go into the process armed with as much...

Seven Things You Should Know About Live Stream Funeral Etiquette

Losing a loved one during the era of COVID-19 is especially challenging. While the pandemic forced the world to remain apart, virtual funeral services have allowed family members, loved ones, and...

Helpful Advice for Common Funeral Planning Challenges

Losing a loved one is among life’s most difficult experiences. Being prepared for this eventuality can relieve some of the initial anxiety and despair. But even with plenty of planning and foreth...

The Guilt of Grief: How to Stop Blaming Yourself

Are you experiencing intense guilt following the loss of a loved one? If so, you aren’t alone. Guilt is a common emotion in the wake of loss. While it isn’t unusual to the grieving process, holdi...

Keeping the Peace: Six Good Ideas for Dividing Your Loved One’s Possessions

Combining grief, stress, and treasured heirlooms can be a challenge for families. That’s why the loss of a loved one sometimes tests the bonds of even the closest families. People do unusual thin...

Dealing with Loss: Avoid Making Major Decisions While You’re Grieving

When a loss occurs, many decisions must be made. There are choices about funerals, memorial services, burial, cremation, logistics relating to funeral services, and many others. While we may be abl...

Essential Tips for Helping Your Child Deal with Loss

Children, like adults, need time to grieve the loss of a loved one. One of the most important things you can do during this time is to let them know you're available to listen and provide reassuran...

How Aging Life Care Professionals™ Help Families Navigate Eldercare Challenges

Dealing with the needs of elderly parents can be challenging at best. In addition to the stress and emotion involved, tending to the many facets of their lives is often complicated and frustra...

Understanding the Symbolism of the Most Popular Funeral Flowers

Before you tell the florist to “put something nice together” for a sympathy arrangement, give some thought to the message it’s sending. Ideally, the arrangement should reflect the life of the perso...