Why am I planning my own funeral?

I’m a perfectly healthy woman with 2 growing kids, an uber-supportive husband, 2 dogs and a whole lot of chaos. I’m deep in the midst of life and thankful for every bit of it. So why am I planning my funeral?

I’ve been known to go a little off the deep end and I can’t do anything just a little bit. I keep a playlist on my iPhone called “funeral songs” and I’m happy when I run into an old friend and they say they were thinking of me when someone died. When my daughter was 7 she heard someone on TV say they “lost someone” and she yelled “they’re not lost – they’re dead!”. We’re not insensitive, cruel or even crazy, we’re practical – we talk about death because it’s a natural part of life and it’s going to happen eventually.

I didn’t grow up in the funeral industry and we NEVER talked about death in our house. My Italian grandmother would touch her head, chest, then shoulder-shoulder in the sign of the cross and say “god- forbid” whenever someone mentioned death. It was a taboo topic and when I found myself working side-by-side with someone whose daughter died, I felt like running away every time he mentioned her name.

Months later he told me stories of how isolated he and his family felt. People were avoiding them and I realized there was a shortage of information and guidance for those of us on the outskirts of grief. I’ve never planned a funeral or felt the kind of life-changing grief they were feeling. I read grief books and every one of them would say “you can’t count on your friends unless they’ve been through a similar loss” and I kept looking for the sidebar explaining what the rest of us should do, but there was nothing. I talked to my pastor, a grief counselor, looked on the internet and scanned libraries until I finally felt like I was properly equipped…but why did it take so long? This is info we need right away – like on the way to a funeral.

So, in the spirit of getting carried away (again) I made the decision to put what I found on the internet. I interviewed experts in all areas of the funeral industry and became fascinated by the options and details I never knew about—I even went to a few funeral trade shows. The research I did back then became the backbone of what I put on my website, Heart2Soul. It was built for everyone effected by death – especially those who are looking for ways to support the grieving and help them feel less isolated.

Nobody REALLY likes talking about death. It’s an uncomfortable topic—especially when there’s a body around. The time to talk about death and how we want our life to be celebrated is when we are alive. And there’s no right or wrong way to plan an end-of-life celebration—every one should be as unique as the person who died.

Now I’m ready to take what I’ve learned, plan my own Kick-Ass Funeral and make sure my husband has clear directions just in case I get hit by a bus.

Change of heart

When I started this blog, I thought it would be a great idea to plan my own funeral and share my choices online. After all, if anyone was prepared to plan their own funeral, it would be me. After a few discussions with my family, I realized while the funeral is about me, it’s for them and they need to make the choices that helped them with their grief.

This made me realize what a gift I’ve given them over the last few years by talking to them openly about death and dying and I want to give that same gift in my blog. So, instead of planning my own funeral this space will be used to just observe and discuss my observations and help normalize conversations about death. If you want to read the blog article about my change of heart clicking the link to the right.

Who is the funeral for anyway?