It’s a strange thing watching your parents get older; changing from the dependable responsible, strong adult, all seeing and all knowing to the more dependent cautious individual who shows frailty and forgetfulness.
Lost for words
I hadn’t really noticed the change but I guess it was hammered home to me after a recent discussion with them about what they want to happen when they die – particularly what they wanted for their funeral order of service! It sounds terribly morbid and dramatic but in actual fact it was very light hearted and in some way made me feel very proud of us all; proud that we actually took time to talk about things that are meaningful to us, when all too often families leave until it is too late.
Where to start
It was my parents who started the conversation, telling me that they are making a Will and arranged their funerals, as they thought it was the ‘right thing to do’ and didn’t want me having the worry of organising and paying for everything when the time comes.
At first I have to admit to being somewhat taken aback; I mean, talking about funeral planning at my age, however I quickly realised that it was a really kind thing to do.
A friend of mine had recently helped her Mum buy a prepaid funeral plan so I did know a little bit about them and I was aware that my grandparents had one too as I can remember my mum saying it was so much easier than when her parents died.
Comparing is key
I was really impressed that they had shopped around and used a comparison website, Over50choices who cater for the fifty plus age group to compare funeral plans. They were able to talk to someone about their requirements, read and compare information and then decide on the best funeral plan that suited their needs and budget.
It’s all in the detail
They also talked about the funeral service and told me that they wanted it to be low key, non religious and would you believe had even selected the music they wanted playing. I knew my Dad was a keen Queen fan but I never thought I’d be listening to them at his funeral. I suppose I should be grateful that he chose ‘Who wants to live forever’ and not ‘Another one bites the dust’ or ‘Fat bottom girls’.
Mind you, the look on my mother’s face would be priceless if it was the latter; she has always hated the lyrics, mainly because I think she believes Dad is singing the lyrics with her in mind. Having said that according to Kim Kardashian, a massive backside is this season’s ‘must have’, so perhaps good old Freddie was right!
The practical side of life
At the end of the day it is going to happen to all of us, so this experience has taught me that it is much better to be open about the subject of dying. In some strange way I feel closer to my parents for having the conversation; privileged that they shared their wishes with me and grateful that they wanted to remove the burden from me. I’m not saying it won’t be hard when it happens but I can see how it can make things just that little easier.