The death of a parent can be painful and stressful. It’s such a large loss that it often elicits hard-to-manage emotions and can bring out the worst in people. Many factors can contribute to an already difficult situation:
- Sometimes, grief manifests in anger. A person might feel that his or her parent could have done things differently or followed different advice, and possibly lived longer. Sometimes people have a feeling of abandonment, and they mask the pain by lashing out.
- Confusion over new family dynamics can also lead to tension. The oldest child may feel unwanted pressure to be the “head of the family,” and siblings might not know how they’re supposed to relate to each other without their parent’s presence.
- Fights over possessions are common. Who gets Mom’s jewelry? What about Dad’s tools? Sometimes, family members are concerned that someone is taking advantage or that they are not receiving things they were promised. Often, it’s not as much about the item as the sentimental meaning attached to it; hanging on to a parent’s possessions is a way of hanging on to that parent.
- Arguments about final arrangements can make people very angry with each other. Family members may argue over end-of-life treatment and when to take extraordinary measures to save a life. There may be confusion over whether the parent wanted to be cremated or buried, or where he or she wanted to be laid to rest. Sometimes, these discussions get heated.
Planning ahead can alleviate much of this tension. You may have already put some things in place, such as an advanced directive or a will. Many people, however, neglect to preplan for a funeral or memorial service.
When you preplan for your end-of-life arrangements, it relieves your family of the burden of making decisions at an already difficult time. You can assign roles to specific people, giving them things to handle for the funeral so there is no confusion about who should be “in charge.” When you preplan, there’s no arguing over what you would have wanted, and your family has the emotional space to do what’s really important: grieve and begin to heal from your loss.
Preplanning is not as difficult as you might think. At Skylawn Memorial Park, we’ve been helping families through times of grief and loss for more than 60 years, and we’d be happy to help you make things easier for your family. Call us at 650-227-3142, or visit our Plan Ahead page for a free preplanning guide.