Big Deal, Small Talk – communicating your funeral wishes may seem like a big deal, but it only requires a small talk
During Dying Matters Awareness Week 2018, we launched our latest funeral planning resource. Entitled “Big Deal, Small Talk”, this leaflet recognises that many people find the topic of funeral planning a “big deal” but in reality, all it requires is some “small talk”.
The leaflets are designed to be self-guided, so that you or your loved ones may complete the document independently, or if you wish to use it as a basis for discussion, it can also be applied in this way. The idea is that, once completed, the full leaflet will give a comprehensive guide of that individual’s wishes regarding their funeral. Upon their death, the person responsible for arranging their funeral could take this document to a funeral director, and be able to easily carry out their wishes.
Some people like to collaborate with their loved ones regarding their plans, as they believe that “funerals are for the living” and therefore, those who are likely to be in attendance, should be engaged with the arrangements in order to ensure that they achieve the service they require. Other people have a fixed idea of their wishes already, and it is important to them that these are carried out to the letter. No matter what your stance, there is no wrong answer – the right funeral is the one which is right for you and your loved ones.
Funeral planning is a difficult thing for many people to contemplate, and this was in our thoughts as we created this document. It is another reason that we designed it as suitable to complete alone if necessary: if your loved ones are reluctant to discuss your wishes, but you would like them to know what you want (or they would like to have access to this information), we would suggest that you complete the leaflet, place it in a sealed envelope, and either hand it to the person likely to be making the arrangements to be opened in the event of your death, or inform that person where it is safely stored. Best practice is for this to be somewhere which is easily-accessible – some people think that this kind of document is best stored with their solicitor, and whilst this would be a safe place, it’s not necessarily accessible at a time when some decisions must be confirmed fairly quickly.
If you have any questions about this document and how to complete it, we welcome your feedback – we consider it very much a live document, and one which is open to being edited based on any comments we receive. We have already recognised, for example, that there isn’t a clear option for an individual to choose a direct cremation (where no service takes place) – this is a choice which is becoming increasingly popular, and a future version of this document will make this option more accessible.
Our hope is that this document brings peace of mind to those choosing to complete it. Remember to date the document, so that your loved ones know when it was last completed – it may be that you change your mind and wish to do it again, which is perfectly acceptable, and a good reason for updating it regularly.