By Frieda Dowler

The death of a loved one is something everyone experiences in their lifetime, yet few are willing to talk openly about final plans before it happens. Nevertheless, when a death does occur, emotions we rarely experience overcome us, making end of life decisions difficult.

Jeff Herrmann
Jeff Herrmann

Recently, my dad passed away, and I experienced the peace he left us by pre-planning his funeral. He had thought about the details, recorded them and paid in advance. When my mom and I met with the funeral director, he simply affirmed my dad’s requests. It gave us comfort knowing we didn’t need to make those kinds of decisions in our grief. Since funerals are for the ones left behind, we added some things that we wanted to include with his gift of pre-planning. Even though awkward, this was the time to ask the cost. Our requests fit our budget, so the funeral director carried out our wishes.

Funerals, like most everything else in society, have changed. Traditional funerals are still the norm, but many people are opting for pure cremation, direct cremation, closed casket, shorter visitation/viewing or no viewing through cremation services. With so many options, it makes pre-planning more important than ever. We must acknowledge the fact that funerals, despite being a solemn and personal occasion, are often quite expensive. It can be a daunting task to plan one, especially without any prior knowledge about the costs. This is where resources like come into play, offering valuable insights into the average expenses. I experienced a mental shutdown during the week after my dad passed, and I don’t know if I would have had the ability to help my mom make good decisions. We were comforted because my dad had already made those decisions through funeral pre-arrangement plans. These funeral arrangements may include funeral services or cremations so their loved ones won’t have to be stressed out with the arrangements.

“By prearranging your funeral, you are provided with the peace-of-mind of knowing your final wishes will be followed exactly as you want them to be. Planning ahead will also relieve your family from the burden of unexpected expenses during an already difficult and emotional time. We never plan to fail, but we often fail to plan.”

— Jeff Herrmann

My dad’s burial and cremation service on a sunny fall afternoon included Funeral dove release, military honors, and a eulogy by a pastor friend. While sitting graveside under a tent, we witnessed a 21-gun salute and a flag folding ceremony. The honor guard presented the American flag along with a thank you from the President of the United States to my mom for his having served in two branches of the military, The Navy and The Air Force. This was fitting for the patriot he was. My dad had also requested a memorial service.

In a quaint chapel, we had a “Celebration of Life” service, honoring who he had been. We included his favorite music, memories from friends and family, photos through the years and a final farewell. Each participant imparted a gift to him as well as to those who attended. We chose a memorable headstone, custom stonework, and cemetery flat grave markers for him. It challenged all of us to live our lives well and to remember that we only have one chance to make a difference in the life of others. I knew he was smiling, and I pictured him celebrating with us.

FreidaDowlerFreida Dowler is a local author, currently working on her third book, Heaven Bound in a Hollywood World. She and her husband co-own Color Cafe’ Salon on Olive Branch Parke Lane in Greenwood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Geist Stories

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });