December 17, 2020

How to Talk to Loved Ones About Final Wishes

Talking about death with a loved one can be an eerie thing to do, but it is really necessary to ensure that they will have everything they want to be completed before they die. Final wishes are extremely important to get squared away as soon as possible. It is best to do it before your loved one becomes seriously ill, as the conversation is easier when death still seems like a far-off possibility, rather than right around the corner. 

There are some important questions that you need to ask them when you have the conversation. How do they want to be cared for? Where do they want to spend their final days? What funeral arrangements do they prefer? 

Starting The Conversation

Starting the conversation is often times the hardest part, especially if your loved one is reserved or uneasy about the possibility of death. Here are a few tips to make the conversation easier. 

Start the conversation with a friend or family member. Practice how you’ll introduce the topic and how you’ll guide them along the process. Practicing with a friend or family member will help take the nervousness away, and you’ll be able to practice exactly what you want to say. Have them use different emotions when you’re talking to them so you can practice how you’ll react depending on your loved one’s emotions to the subject. 

Pick the Appropriate Time. Starting the conversation in the middle of a crowded restaurant might not be the best idea. Each person is different in how they will react to the subject of death, and you know your loved ones the best. Pick a setting that matches the personality of your loved one. If they are shy and reserved, the best setting might be one-on-one with them in their house. If they are outgoing and social, bring in other family members that can ease the pressure and make the conversation more informal. 

Consider The Best Approach.  If your loved one is uncomfortable with the topic of death, try asking open-ended hypothetical questions. If the topic can be brought up naturally in conversation, it can also make the conversation easier and less forced. You can also explain what you would do if you were planning a funeral for yourself. This helps take the focus off of them, while also allowing them to think about what they might do. It’s possible they chime in and explain what they would do also without knowing that they are helping you. 

Know Who Should Be Present. When you have the conversation with your loved one, who should be there for the conversation? If they have a spouse still alive, should they be present? If they have any kids, should they be included in the conversation? 

Ultimately this will vary from person to person, but bringing in the correct people to the conversation can help settle some of the uneasiness and make the conversation easier. 

No Answer is Wrong 

After you figure out how to start the conversation and they start speaking, don’t interrupt them or criticize them on their choices. Any answer is great and will be very helpful with planning down the road. Even if you don’t agree with their response, it’s okay. The point of the conversation is to understand what their final wishes are, not yours. 

Go into detail about each answer they give you so you can understand exactly what they want. Find out the exact location they want to be buried or have the service held. Ask what type of coffin they would like and who should carry it. For every answer they give you, you should be asking follow-up questions to dive deeper. 

We’re Always Here To Help

If you are struggling to find the right words to say or you don’t know how to start the conversation with your loved ones, give us a call! Our staff can help you find the right words to say based on your situation. Final wishes are an important part of funeral planning, and if it’s done properly, it will make the whole process easier for everyone involved. Final wishes are only a step in the process of funeral planning, so if you have any additional questions about end of life planning, funeral arrangements, or other preparations, we’re here for you! 

Give us a call or stop in and see us. 

(402) 474-3600 | 3600 O St, Lincoln, NE 68510 


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