You probably don't want to even think about this, and hopefully, you will not need to actually "use" this planning for a few decades, but I encourage you to think about it and to start a conversation with your family.

Over the last few years, there have been a few of my close friends and loved ones that have passed. I have discovered a great deal (sadly) about the options available to someone for their funerals or as the commercials on TV say, "Your final expenses."

Have you thought about what you want for your funeral? Do you want to be cremated? Do you want a service? Do you want a "Green Burial?" Do you have pet remains that you want to make sure are buried with you so you and your pets can spend eternity together? See there are more questions than you thought.

My Grandmother planned everything. She picked out the casket, planned the visitation, she even planned the service, down to the music she wanted played (none) and who she wanted to 'Host' her graveside service. I remember her, ever so casually telling me about her coffin (it was light blue, one of her favorite colors) and that she had paid for the whole thing, "So no one will have to worry about it." That was about 10 or 15 years before she passed.

My Mom. Well, she sort of made her wishes known, as far as my Mom had been in the Navy, so she was eligible for a resting place at a veterans cemetery, so we knew that is where she would be buried and that cost was also covered, but it only started there. My sister's and I, found ourselves making decisions like, actually picking out her coffin, what her final outfit would be and then where her wake would be. Of course, I had the pressure I put on myself, 'What if she doesn't like the casket?" Will she 'let us know' so to speak?  Then the very next day, the country shut down, the pandemic began and everything went on hold. Well, that is everything but the burial and our mourning.

So I encourage you to have a conversation, maybe you already have. I asked my Dad and he gets frustrated that I politely, yet persistently ask him questions. I also try to lighten the mood by telling him that if he doesn't decide, I am going to have him cremated and his ashes split between a winery and a golf course, two things that make him happy. I only joke about that, because of the previous conversations I have had with him, he has expressed that he is against cremation, and he does not want to have his organs donated. Do I agree with him? That has nothing to do with it. Those are his 'final wishes' and that is how, when the time comes, I will do my best to (along with my sisters) make sure he gets his wishes.

Of course, I can always (and I tell him this) get the last word in and write his obituary. He just smiles and shakes his head.

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