August this year saw the death of two legendary Americans: the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, to pancreatic cancer on August 16, and war hero and politician John McCain, to brain cancer on August 29. 

These two strong-minded people had very different funerals.  

Aretha Franklin’s lasted for eight hours and featured musical performances by a wide range of artists including Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Faith Hill. Several pastors and celebrities spoke, as well as other public figures.  

Known for his strong character and outspoken nature,  Senator McCain’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral befitted his status as a well-known public figure. It featured eulogies by former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain. Opera singer Renee Fleming performed a rendition of Oh Danny Boy, which brought McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, to tears. 

What these very public funerals had in common is that both were preplanned. By preplanning, the U.S. senator and the Queen of Soul were able to determine exactly who should attend and participate, as well as personal touches including Franklin’s crossed ankles in her casket and McCain’s bipartisan speakers.  

When it comes to preplanning, anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a public figure and it’s not difficult to manage. When you preplan, you get to control your funeral service, from the flowers to the music to the people who participate in the ceremony. You can choose personal touches that make it uniquely your own — and because everything’s in writing, you can feel confident that your wishes will be respected.  

Even better, preplanning lifts a burden from your family. It eliminates the guesswork, keeping your family from having to make difficult decisions at an already stressful time. Preplanning frees them to grieve your loss, support each other and find their own paths to healing.  

At Skylawn Memorial Park, we’ve been helping families in our community plan life-honoring funerals since 1959. During that time, we’ve built a reputation on sincerity, quality and trust. Call us at (650) 227-3142 for more information or visit our Plan Ahead page to request your preplanning guide.