At some point your children need to be included in your talks about death. If you can do this organically that is the best. In our home growing up, death was a frequent topic. Our children have long been acquainted with death practices. My oldest was four and a half and my youngest was eighteen months when they went to my father’s funeral. My oldest now has opinions on what makes a good wake. I recognize that not everyone has had a chance to attend a funeral at an early age or have a mother who blogs about death. I understand that death is a tough topic for adults let alone children. At some point along the way, your children need to begin to hear some of your understanding about death and what kinds of things you would like at your funeral. As you and your children grow older, you may begin to realize that they might have to take charge of your funeral one day and they need to have a conversation with you about the things you have in mind or things that have been already planned on. I think I was sixteen when my mother told me her funeral plans were in her sock draw if I ever needed to know where to find it. At forty-seven, I know a great deal more about her plans. My sister and I will have to take charge at her death, so it is fitting that we know more about her plans and wishes.
These talks are a conversation. There is give and take on both sides. While we might have things we desperately want at our funeral, we might have to make peace with the fact that our family might not be able to hire that jazz quartet to play When the Saints Go Marching In. I would so like that at my funeral, but I know in my heart it is not likely to happen. That would be a large expense and maybe too much work for those I love to find such a jazz quartet. What I really want is for people to gather, talk, tell stories and laugh if they can. I suggest these plans be as simple as needed. My plan offers a variety of choices for my family because I do not wish to burden them with too much running around. I mostly want them gathered together to love each other. While telling those you love what kind of funeral you would like is important, you must also realize that they are the ones who will likely be doing so much of the work, and grief saps so much of a person’s energy. Keep things simple and doable. Keep things simple and make a plan with the help of those who will have to do the work at the time of your death. That way they know what you want and are able to tell you what kinds of things might not work for them to do, like the jazz quartet.