I was intrigued by an article this summer in the New York Times entitled, “It’s My Funeral and I’ll Hire a Marching Band If I Want To.” The bottom line is the funeral business is changing. While the planning for most of the 2 million funerals a year in America still falls to the nation’s 22,000 funeral homes, some people are thinking outside of the traditional setting. The article states Baby Boomers are all about being in control. They want funeral services to be less somber. Cremation is on the rise because having a body present is a “downer.” Funerals are moving away from a church setting with traditional music. And funeral directors are being asked to be more like party planners.
As I read the article, I chuckled and filed it away. However, the recent death of Liz’s stepfather and all the planning we had to do brought the article back to my mind. As I reflected on what we have just been through, I was grateful for a faith family that prayed, brought food, washed dishes and took care of mundane tasks. I was grateful for a caring funeral director that was sensitive to my mother-in-law’s needs and feelings. I was grateful for a family that was united and did not fight over details.
Here are some suggestions to ponder…
1. You will die one day, so have a plan. Write down important items for your family.
2. Have a will in place.
3. When death comes to your friends, reach out to the family.
4. Don’t forget to check on survivors a few weeks after the funeral.
I don’t know what I want on my tombstone. One man wanted this inscription, “I told you I was sick.” I hope I can live so that someone might write FAITHFUL on my marker.
Pastor Ted Traylor