When Final Wishes Clash Within Families

Throughout our decades of funeral service experience at St. Pierre Family Funeral, our caring team has been asked many times by families in Indianapolis, Greenwood, Pendleton, Anderson, and North Salem what it’s like to be in funeral service, and whether our work is somehow depressing and morbid. While it is true that the work we do here is not easy, we always respond that above all else, our work is immensely rewarding. It is a tremendous honor to have someone entrust to you the planning of a loved one’s final farewell. We are also constantly inspired by the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of the family bond when facing a loss together. It is true tragedy often brings out the best in people.

There are times, however, when the emotional strain of losing a loved one, coupled with the stress of having to make dozens of practical decisions, can result in tension, or even discord. Family dynamics can be difficult to navigate under even the best circumstances, so you can imagine what a challenge it can be when people are in the throes of grief.

There is one thing we have seen soften, or even eliminate, this strain: choosing to preplan your own funeral. This is one of the many benefits to making your own prearrangements. Here are some of the top things you will want address with one of our preplanning specialists in order to lessen the chance of any disagreements in your family:

1.) The choice between cremation or burial.

While cremation has become more popular, and is certainly within the mainstream at this point, some people still have reservations about it. There are even some religions that expressly forbid it. If you have strong feelings on the topic, you should make your wishes known in your prearrangements, so it doesn’t become a topic for debate after you’re gone.

2.) Funeral costs.

Money is most one of the biggest causes of arguments after a loved one dies. There are several reasons for that:

  • Certain family members can disagree over who should pay for your funeral.
  • Loved ones you leave behind may have differing income levels. Those who have less money could feel pressure to spend more than they can afford just to “keep up” or show how much they loved you.
  • It’s easy to overspend when emotions run high. But since not everyone in your family might be tempted in that direction, it can cause disagreements.

If you are able to prepay for your arrangements, you enable your family to grieve your loss rather than stress over financial considerations. Our team is here to help you explore all of your funding options, including potential veteran benefits.

3.) Service style.

Some members of your family may want to keep your farewell simple and intimate, while others want to remember you with a large, lavish service and reception. When you preplan, you can communicate to your family exactly what your wishes are. If you would prefer something traditional, we can help you plan a visitation and funeral service, perhaps with a formal dinner to follow. Want your farewell to be a little different? Consider arriving in a motorcycle hearse or a horse-drawn carriage. You can also inject the service with thoughtful, personal touches that will communicate who you were and how much you loved your family.

They say preplanning is one of the greatest gifts of love you can give your family, and at St. Pierre, we believe that to be true. If you’ve chosen to preplan your funeral, share in the comments below why you’re glad you made that choice.