As the coming holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are rapidly approaching, it puts us in mind of all the traditions, both easy and hard, that go with those holidays. Parties, big meals, gift giving, gathering with friends and family, sending cards, church services, decorating, and traveling to spend time with family are just a few of the traditions that we look on as easy and positive. But there are also some traditions that are not as positive. Too much togetherness causing family stress, too much eating and drinking, financial stress, and loneliness, are just a few of the hard or negative traditions. The holidays should be a happy time, gathering together with those you are closest to, fostering communication and family values between the generations and bringing all the generations together as they celebrate those values.
These traditions that your family has established around the holidays can become a transformational experience for all generations of your family, from young to old. These traditions extend not just to our immediate family, but also to the community that surrounds our daily lives, such as our friends, neighbors, church family and co-workers. We stop our daily lives at this time of year to celebrate the traditions that have been established by our parents, grandparents and maybe even our great-grandparents. Everything else in our lives takes a back burner to the plans for the holidays and the traditions that our family has been practicing. Most often, the traditions that your family establishes will be carried on from generation to generation. You want to establish traditions that will bring your family closer together.
The same thing applies to the traditions your family has regarding their funerals. Most families have a tradition of selecting a certain type of funeral such as, burial or cremation, visitation or no visitation, funeral services or no services. You want to consider establishing healthy habits and behaviors that will help your family to heal at the time of your death. The decisions that you make are going to affect your family for the rest of their lives, so you want to put some careful thought and planning into those decisions. You need to have an intentional plan in place, establishing healthy traditions for your family.
Compare planning for your funeral to the way you plan for the holidays. Most people spend lots of thought, time, and energy into planning for the holidays, but little or no time into planning for their funeral. It isn’t something that they want to think about or talk about. Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to do some intentional planning now, your family will be faced with doing it alone, without your input. There is no better gift that you can give your family than taking the time to plan ahead. What better time of the year to begin establishing some healthy traditions and giving your family the gift of preplanning!
Sharon Rickaby, CPC
Certified Preplanning Consultant
Anderson-Marry and Anderson-Rudd Funeral Homes