Having end-of-life conversations with our loved ones is perhaps one of the most challenging things we ever do. It may be even harder on them than it is on us. Everyone has a different reaction to coping with the loss of a loved one, even if that loss hasn’t happened yet.
However, planning for the end of life is still important; you want your family to know your wishes ahead of time. You may feel scared, worried, or overwhelmed about having an end-of-life conversation with your loved ones, and that’s completely natural. It’s an emotional topic and is not one that is ever taken lightly, but doing so can help your loved ones as much as yourself in the transition when the time comes.
How Do I Tell My Family I Want to be Cremated?
It’s often recommended that conversations about cremation or burial plans begin while individuals are still in good health, so that their wishes become known and are clear well ahead of time. In a perfect world, spouses would have these conversations early on in their marriage, and then reiterate their wishes to each other, their children, or siblings as the years pass.
However, as time goes on, it may be more difficult to continue having these conversations; or it may be more difficult for loved ones to hear them.
If it is your wish to be cremated it’s best to explicitly state this to your family. It can be helpful to tell them why. If there’s a meaning behind your decision, such as “my mother was also cremated,” it can be beneficial to include this statement so that your family understands the deep personal meaning it has to you.
Why Is Sharing My Wish to Be Cremated Important?
Many of us think that our loved ones should just know things about us. And many times, they do. Our family members know our favorite foods, our favorite movies, where we like to travel to, and so on.
However, when it comes to burial and cremation wishes, it’s often easier to avoid the topic for people than it is to face it head on. This can leave ambiguity when the time comes, possibly causing fights among your loved ones as they fight over what your final wishes apparently were.
Can I Mention My Wish to Be Cremated In My Will?
While it’s not generally advised that you put burial or cremation directions in your will because it may not be viewed for a period of time following your passing, leaving written directions for your wish to be cremated can help your loved ones greatly and can help ensure that your wishes are upheld.
Often, in times of grief, individuals may struggle to remember details of past conversations, or become too emotional to make a decision that differs from their own point of view. Having your wish to be cremated left in a written directive can be extremely helpful. Your loved ones will have something to reference, and you can state again why you wish to be cremated if you’d like to.
Furthermore, if you don’t have your wishes written down somewhere, state law will dictate who gets to make the decision for you once you have passed (the order usually gets designated as: spouse, children, parents, next of kin). Your original written instructions should be left with the executor of your estate or their attorney, and copies should be sent to your loved ones.
The Importance of Pre-planning
Discussing the fact that you want to be cremated is just as important as discussing your medical treatment, the plans for your estate, or making care arrangements for children and pets. It’s a difficult topic for many, but it’s one that should not be avoided. Don’t be afraid to voice your wishes to your loved ones.
If you feel it would be beneficial, you and your loved ones can speak with a funeral counselor to discuss pre-planning arrangements. When there’s a caring professional by your side, this conversation can feel more comfortable and guided. At The Gardens of Boca Raton, our counselors are available to discuss your end of life wishes with your family.