Monday, January 19, 2009

The Funeral Planner

Being the 4th funeral in my immediate family, 5 counting Caleb and 6 counting Gwen dad's second wife who died I guess about 9 years ago, we have gotten to be quite the professionals at planning a funeral. My dad God bless him, had preplanned everything, he had gone to the funeral home with me years ago to get an itemized quote, so my sister basically walked in and said "here's what he wanted". Dad knew when you lose someone and are grieving your mind is not sharp, so he wanted to make things easy for us.....he also gave us an obituary.

There is much to do planning a funeral, you have the physical things you need for burial and the logistics of all the events. We are having a visitation and Rosary the night before the funeral. Dad wanted open casket, I guess he knows that when you see the body it sinks in the person is gone. This might freak out some people, but I like open also, though I have decided to get cremated when its my time.

We wanted a priest who knew dad and our family to perform the burial mass, so we had to coordinate his schedule with the church and the funeral home. We had to get all the paperwork filled out with the funeral home....this took FOREVER, and go to the cemetery to physically confirm the plot location. Dad will be buried next to Mom and next to my sister Mary Beth. Caleb is between them right now, so he will also be next to my little man. Our family plot is down the hill from where all the priests are buried, so we have many friends up on the top of the hill also.

Then there is the music and readings to plan. have to confirm all this with who will be doing the music and programs if you have them. You also talk with the person doing the service about the deceased and the readings, so they can plan out what to say. You also have to find readers, which I THINK I want to do one at the service for dad. And there is the music at the cemetery IF you so choose - I need to call the bagpipe dude tomorrow.....this is totally for me!

You need to write and submit the obituary, which is also involves deciding what day to have it in the paper and there are deadlines to meet.

You don't HAVE to have pall bearers - the funeral home can handle this task, but its always nice to have friends or family escort the deceased into church one last time. This is the one thing I need to do.

And of course there are the phone calls for people you think need to know, but might not read the paper, and rehashing the story of what happened.

If you are going to gather after everything, there is the planning of that also......where, what to eat/drink etc etc etc. If you have a toddler or baby, you have to figure out what to do with them.

I tell you it will wear you out!

We have everything planned......Wednesday evening and Thursday. Thanks Dad for helping out beforehand and making some of the planning seamless with NO decisions to make. I am sure Dad will be smiling down on us as we take him to mass one last time....though where he is, he sure doesn't miss Mass. I still can't believe he is gone.


Lori said...

Julie, what a wonderful final gift your father gave your family. I would hope to do the same for my family one day. It's hard enough to grieve, but to have to make all the plans in the process.

You are a wonderful daughter. I know your dad must be proud of you!

lori said...

please know you are in my prayers still...
and if you can, email me your snail mail address...i have a little something to stick in the mail for you!