One of 125 Decisions to Make Before you Die

By: Sharon Rickaby
Tuesday, October 24, 2017


When you think about the type of funeral you want, do you know if you would have a Traditional Burial, an Immediate Burial, a Traditional Cremation, or an Immediate Cremation,? Does your family know your wishes?  Many people think that making the choice between burial and cremation is the only decision they have to make.  But what they often forget is that the decisions they make are going to affect their family for the rest of their lives.  That is why it is so important to take time to be sure that the decisions you make are going to help your family begin to heal after you are gone. 

If you decide that you want to have a burial, one of the first decisions is whether it will be a Traditional Burial or an Immediate Burial.  Do you want to be embalmed? If not, the burial must take place within 48 hours of the death, and is called an Immediate Burial. If you select an Immediate Burial, will your family need to see you one last time before the burial? Will you want your body present for a visitation and/or a funeral service before the burial? If so, that is called a Traditional Burial. Have you selected the cemetery? Does your family already own a grave space or will you need to purchase one? What kind of casket and outer burial container would you select? These are some of the questions that must be answered if you choose to have a burial.

Many people believe that having a cremation is simpler and will make it easier for their family.  Actually, there are more decisions to make when you select a cremation than when you select a burial.  What if your family lives far away and they have not seen you for a long time? Will they have the need to see you before you are cremated? Will you have a Traditional Cremation, with your body present, and include a time for visitation and a funeral? Or will you have an Immediate Cremation which means your body goes to the crematory before any visitation or services?  If you have an Immediate Cremation, will you set aside time for your family and friends to have a visitation and also a memorial service or celebration of life?  Would the service be at a funeral home, your church, or some other location? What do you plan to do with the cremains after they are returned from the crematory? Will you want to place the cremains into an urn or cremation jewelry? Will you bury the cremains? Will you need to purchase a grave space? Would you bury your cremains on someone else’s grave, such as a parent’s or a spouse’s grave? Will someone keep them? What will happen to your cremains after that person is gone; who will they go to then?  Will you scatter the cremains? If you choose to scatter the cremains, where would you do it?  If you select a place on your own property, what happens if you sell that property and have no rights to ever visit there again?

As you can see from the questions above, there are a lot of decisions to make. These are just some of the questions that you need to think about when you are planning your funeral and making decisions about what you want to do.  That is why it is so important to have an intentional plan in place, so that your family is not left to wonder what your wishes are and if they are doing the right thing.

There are no right or wrong answers to any of those questions listed above.  The important thing is to take the time to think about them, talk about them with your family, and set an intentional plan in place. By doing that, your family is not left alone after you are gone, to make those decisions by themselves.  You will have set a plan in place so that they can begin to heal and cope with a world that you are no longer a part of.  The best way to get your intentional plan in place is to contact me to schedule a time to meet and start to make some of these decisions. Then you know that your family will be able to begin the healing process after you are gone.

Sharon Rickaby, CPC

Certified Preplanning Consultant

Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian

Anderson-Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield

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