Although a lot of people don't think of it, planning ahead for funerals is an important and helpful step to take. Along with easing the burden on family members, a pre-planned funeral can sooth the minds of the planners and ensure that their wishes will be honored when it comes to their own funeral. This is called Pre-need.
Mary was home that summer from college, sitting on the porch swing, enjoying the mountains. Being there in those mountains, in the log home, with the horses out back and the smell of the pine forests, was a nice place to be. For Mary, however, being "home" was more about being with her folks. Mary had been a December baby for her parents. These parents, now sitting on the other side of the porch watching her, were nearing their sixties.
When her mother called her name, it woke Mary up out of a sort-of slumber.
"Mary," her mother said. "Why don't you come down here for a minute?" Of course, Mary went right away.
"Mary," her father started. "This isn't an easy subject to broach but it's something we need to talk about. Your mother and I aren't getting any younger, in case you hadn't noticed. Mary shook her head violently. She didn't want to talk about this, to have this "Death Conversation," and she had avoided it every other time her parents brought it up. However, today, her parents' attitude was different.
"We just want to make sure that everything is taken care of," her father said, after explaining the funeral services that he and his beloved wife had planned. They went on to tell Mary that they had spoken with their funeral director, and had arranged and paid for their funeral services and burials.
"You're still so young," her mother said. "To be left with that kind of a financial burden wouldn't make sense. And, it's not like it's easy to make decisions when you are grieving."
Mary started to understand her parents and her resistance to the conversation lessened as it continued. She could see what they meant, that they would rather have their wishes fulfilled than leave it to chance or to leave it to Mary while she was overwhelmed with grief. She understood that they were doing this planning and having this conversation out of love.
"To be honest," Mary said. "I'd much rather have you around for the next few decades. But, I guess I'm glad that you've done this. Now, we can all put it to rest, right?"
"Of course we can," her parents said in unison. They were always doing that; everyone started to laugh and the last bit of tension on the porch was diffused.