Whose Choice is it? – DoWoo #154/365

plan aheadHave and am experiencing two totally different types of family situations regarding funeral planning at this time. Walter’s mom passed 10 days ago and my mom is now in hospice and is not anticipated to be with us for long.  Walter’s mom planned all her funeral choices almost 30 years ago whereas my mom did not.  This has resulted in her children now making a number of these decisions for her.

I have to admit I’ve struggled with this the past few weeks. I know I am of a different bent than my siblings on a number of philosophies.  In this case I am of the opinion (sorry this may just be one of those areas I cannot just observe) it is up to the individual to choose how they wish their send off to be managed.  The caveat being, that if someone dies unexpectedly, some decisions may have to be made without their input.  However, if they are still aware and able to converse, why would we not ask them their opinion? 

People plan for their demise all the time – they choose life insurance, they make a will and update it, they sign a non-resuscitate order (if that is their position) and some even complete a donor card which may be attached to their drivers license.  So, why is it some have not consider what they want done for their send off?

plan aheadI’ve already explained to Walter most of my wishes…and have even recently mentioned to Gregory that I wish to be cremated and then buried under a tree so as it grows, it may carry a piece of me with it.  He suggested I consider a tree which flowers in the spring time so not only will the tree grow but it will also be full of beauty. Love this idea!

So…I wonder, is it supposed to be up to the living to plan their own send off or should it be put to the remaining living to decide for the deceased, hoping to properly fulfill the wishes of their loved one?  Or it could be that the funeral is for the living…so allow the remaining living to choose. 

it just isI don’t believe there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer here. It may be simply that any answer will depend on each individual situation. I observe that while I prefer to have structure and guidelines I’m sure my mom’s situation will evolve as it is meant to.  And as the answers unfold, I pray I am able to represent my mom in a manner that she would want.  

This blog is meant to elicit conversation – especially in instances where I am doing my best to remain within my DoWoo philosophy.  So please, I ask of you, share your perspective for this case. I am appreciative of any mastermind thoughts on the situation.  Gracias!  

10 thoughts on “Whose Choice is it? – DoWoo #154/365

  1. lydia johnson

    I have always believed planning in advance is the best way to go and certainly takes all the pressure off of the family left behind. It can be a sensitive topic and can be one that many families avoid talking about, but I sure have made my intentions clear and would not want to leave my daughter to have to make decisions all at the same time she will be going through her own adjustment and grieving. I can also say that as a career banker, and after spending many years in a branch environment, it was awful to experience the estate accounts where families were fighting over what to do, the money, and of course the ownership of the funds afterwards, with or without wills.It was common to get in the middle of differing opinions of the surviving children. How awful for them as well to be bickering all while mourning. I say, get as much pre-planned as possible.

  2. Sandra Owen

    Thought provoking post Carolynn. Having lost my father when I was a little girl I have always ignored thoughts of dying and planning my own funeral because it always stirred up unwanted feelings. Yet I know my mother has planned and even taken out insurance to cover the costs of everything so as not to burden my sister and I. I have never made a Will or discussed my own passing with anyone because it upset me too much. My spiritual and personal development over the last couple of years means I am no longer afraid because I know there is no death, just moving on. When our Spirit calls us home it is because we are ready for the next part of our journey. I will give some thought to how I want to say ‘au revoir’ and ‘I love you’ when it is my time to continue my journey. Thank you xx

  3. Cassandra O'Neal

    My grandmothers, my Father, my mother, my husband’s parents.. Arrangements may not have been completed by all, but their wishes were known, and if known, it is kindness, love, and respect to honor them. So ask.

  4. Wendy

    I agree that advanced planning would be best! It makes it harder on the rest of the family when they have to decide what to do while grieving!!
    It is a tricky situation!

  5. Anna

    Hi Carolynn,

    Two experiences.

    Many years ago, my grandmother was rushed to the hospital for emergency repair of an aneurysm. My mother and aunt anxiously awaited word from the surgeon. He came out to tell them that Grandmother had survived the surgery but appeared to be brain dead…did they want to keep her on life support or pull the plug. My mother and my aunt both answered very confidently what their mother would have wanted: unfortunately their answers were complete opposites. These two surviving siblings started a fight that day that was to estrange them for the rest of their lives.

    30 years later: As you know, I cared for my father through several years of increasing dementia and was in a position to manage his affairs and make many decisions for him. When he left us, my brother and I were blessed with a well planned estate with all his wishes and documents in order. Having been through a long ordeal of caring for someone who was no longer able to appreciate anything, his estate plan became a last love letter of sorts. It helped me remember a earlier day when he was in his right mind, and it reminded me that when he was younger and in good health, he loved me enough to leave everything in order so that I could spend the time of loss dealing with memories and feelings, and not be overwhelmed by legal decisions or possible fighting in the family.



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