The Importance of Planning- Sarah’s Story

February 5, 2017 Nicolette 4 comments









A recent study revealed that most of our population have not even considered their funeral and what their wishes would be. It is almost always something that is not considered until the last minute or until the actual death has occurred. People are then not emotionally or financially prepared and are in a vulnerable state when faced with the reality of organising a funeral. They are also generally unaware of what products and services are available, so end up with limited choices and therefore spending more money and not necessarily getting what they would like.

I would like to share with you Sarah’s story.

Sarah’s mother had recently been given a stage 4 cancer diagnosis after living with cancer for a few years. She loved her mother so much and spent as much time with her as possible. She had intended on speaking to her about her funeral wishes but felt that she had time to do that and never found the right moment to broach the topic. There was the odd sharing of poems and quotes which her mother had indicated she would like at her funeral. The family somehow knew that she would like to be cremated and didn’t want a fuss. But there was never a solid plan which Sarah was hoping to establish a bit more.


Then her mother died. Just like that. Went into a coma and died in hospital. She didn’t even make it to the upcoming family wedding. And so, it was.


Sarah was disheartened as she thought she had more time. Unfortunately, she is like many others in thinking we always have more time.


The family gathered and Sarah ensured she had as much time with her mother as possible before the Funeral Directors took her body away.


The family met the next day with the Funeral Director, shocked, grief-stricken, upset. Running on adrenaline to keep going.


What would their mother have wanted? Nobody really knew and nobody was prepared for the numerous decisions they would have to make in that 2 hours or the questions they would be asked about their mother.


2 hours later they emerged having spent $10,000 on a cremation.


All for one hour to say goodbye to their beloved mother.


How did this happen? How can it cost so much?


Many people will tell you not to go food shopping when you are hungry, right?  You buy more food because you are in a state of hunger and are purchasing from that state of being.


So it is the same when you are organising a funeral without any pre-thought. You are in a grief state and are purchasing from an emotion. You are wanting to create the best send off for your loved one. It is your final act of love and they deserve it. You want to do the best you can so you purchase the best you can. You are making decisions from this emotional state of being. Guilt can also be an emotion which is underlying a proportion of the spending.


The Funeral Director is a business. They are needing to make money and cover their costs. They are trying to encourage you to create the best funeral possible and offer all the bells and whistles. A lot of which have a high markup price on them. That is their business and they are doing nothing wrong.


We are the consumers and we need to be more aware of what is on offer. We need to know what is available and shop around. Not many people go and make a large financial purchase without having considered their choices and done their homework. You don’t just go and buy a car without considering what type you would like, which one would best suit your price and purpose. Usually, you have even considered the colour.


Sarah and her family knew their mother was dying but couldn’t face the truth of that. They had time to have the conversation and to shop around. But they didn’t and most people don’t. Because we fall into the lull of thinking we have time on our side and neither party wants to upset the other.


I have come across this scenario so many times and it doesn’t have to be that way.


Yes, you can pre-plan and pay for a funeral. The ads are on TV all the time. But buyer be aware with these types of plans is my advice and read the fine print and terms and conditions.


There is a simpler way. Think about what you would like. Do some research. Talk to people about it. Talk to your family. Make your wishes known. It makes it so much easier for them at the time. If they only have to make half of the decisions you are easing the burden on them.


Write a Funeral Directive which then cements your wishes and can dispel any he said she said types of situations. It is there and it is written. No arguments or grey areas. Tell someone where it is so they can refer to it at the time.


Still not sure how to go about this?  Come to an Education Seminar where you are stepped through all the options and have assistance to start writing a Funeral Directive. You can then easily start the conversations with loved ones because you have a written document which you can give to them to read and digest.


Alternatively, employ an End of Life Doula to assist you with the funeral arranging process. Sarah had contacted me during the time that the family were making their arrangements. I advised her not to have her mother embalmed as it was not necessary with their situation. $600 saved. I also supported her to see other ways of doing things which were a lot more cost effective and were actions that the family and friends could take and do themselves rather than paying exorbitant Funeral Directors prices for those services. More $ saved.


As an End of Life Doula and Coach, I provide both educational seminars and one to one consultations.


So, let’s start your Funeral planning today, because;


“Peace of mind is the gift you give when you put your wishes in writing.”

– Caring Conversations


For more information, you can Contact Me

For more information on my Educational Seminars



4 Comments on “The Importance of Planning- Sarah’s Story

  1. I’m into talking to people about death and dying and funerals. I also happen to build coffins. Most people, first off, are not entirely comfortable to talk about funerals. Especially their own.
    My point is that most people talk about weddings and a wedding is not even a certainty but death is so why not talk about it. Even some people in their late seventies say that they are not ready to talk about it yet. We can but try and I find that after a few times of talking a little it becomes easier and people eventually open up. I describe
    my own funeral all the time. Yes one reading this will be horrified, some amused and some think yes that’s a good idea.
    Keep up the good work Nicolette

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