The Most Common Funeral Planning Challenges and How to Overcome Them

By: VGFS
Monday, August 24, 2020

Planning the funeral for a loved one is a solemn responsibility that’s filled with emotion.

It may add to the stress and deep sorrow you are likely already feeling, particularly if you have to deal with serious difficulties in the process. Read on for some important advice to help you focus on appropriately honoring your loved one and processing your grief.

when-a-loved-one-passes

Challenge #1: Time Sensitivity

Most funerals take place within a few days to a week after the loved one has passed. To the bereaved, this period can simultaneously feel like a frenzied rush and an endless litany of obligations and to-do’s that interfere with the grieving process. It may seem like an inadequate amount of time to orchestrate a permanent goodbye for someone you loved dearly, especially when other commitments like children and work also require your attention. Many people who have suffered a loss simply want this period of upheaval and sorrow to pass so they can return to some semblance of normalcy. However, taking adequate time to plan the funeral service will ultimately save you a considerable amount of stress in the long run.  Although funerals can indeed be time-sensitive affairs, you always have options. You may choose to delay the service for a bit or hold a celebration of life at a later date. Friends and family members who are not in the vicinity often find it difficult to travel long distances on short notice, so having adequate time to plan their travels can be quite helpful. Whatever your preference, communicate your wishes to your funeral director. He or she will be happy to assist you in making funeral arrangements on a schedule that works for you.

Challenge #2: Financial Constraints

Establishing a budget that you can realistically follow is among the most important funeral planning decisions. Some people feel that they must throw a lavish affair to demonstrate their love for the deceased, while others feel trapped by familial and societal pressures. It’s important to remember that a funeral does not have to bankrupt you and your family to create a touching and memorable farewell. Funeral packages exist to suit every budget, and there are always ways in which you can reduce costs without impacting on the quality of the service. For example, you might opt for a high-quality playlist of your loved one’s favorite songs as opposed to hiring live musicians. Your funeral provider will work with you to customize your loved one’s service and assist you in identifying affordable funeral options to meet your budget.

Challenge #3: Family Strife

With the emotional upheaval, time restrictions, and financial worries that often come with planning a loved one’s funeral, it is understandable that tensions can arise between family members. These conflicts usually occur as a result of disagreements about what the departed would have wanted or individual preferences for the service. Even when a loved one has made his or her wishes known, such as burial versus a cremation or the location of the service, it is unlikely that explicit details for every aspect of the funeral service were provided unless they were pre-arranged. That leaves family members to consider a multitude of specifics ranging from flower choices to the epitaph. Having open conversations with loved ones about any future funeral arrangements or personal preferences can be tremendously helpful, but there is no easy fix when it comes to making emotionally-charged decisions. Maintain a sense of balance during funeral planning by reminding yourself that the goal is to celebrate and honor the life of someone dear to you and your family members. Funerals are as much for the living as they are for those who have passed on, so considering everyone’s feelings can make the process less adversarial. 

If you have questions about end of life conversations, final arrangements, or funeral preparations, please reach out to us anytime. Our compassionate, licensed funeral directors are always here to assist you.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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