The Importance of Honoring Your Loved One's Final Wishes
If you’re charged with taking care of final arrangements for your loved one, you may feel that they’ve provided a wishlist that conflicts with who you’ve known them to be. Consider that fulfilling your loved one’s wishes is a symbolic way for you to pay your respects and that we often learn things about people after they’ve passed.
If death was sudden, it may be that you didn’t have the chance to talk through everything to understand their wishes. If the death was gradual, your loved one may have reflected on their lives and beliefs to plan their ceremony.
We simply have to do the best we can to honor our loved one. Their motives are just that: theirs.
When people know that they’re dying, such as terminally-ill or unwell individuals, it’s not uncommon for them to confront their spirituality. For example, if you’ve not known your relative to be religious but they ask for a religious ceremony, there’s a good chance they’ve made their choice after reflecting on their situation. Spirituality is very personal, so we should do our best to respect that.
Your loved one may also be concerned about their dignity, and their wishes may ease that worry. Knowing that their funeral or cremation will be carried out as they’ve planned it can give them a sense of control over an otherwise uncontrollable situation. It will bring peace to do right by them.
Additionally, your loved one might personalize their service based on some specific memories they want people to share together. This can include requesting specific music, photos, or personal items to be displayed during their viewing or Memorial Gathering. It’s one way that you can help them celebrate their life one last time. It’s not uncommon for a bit of humor to be included to help lighten the mood.
Lastly, when it comes to the grieving process, it’s important for the person making the arrangements to know that we’ve done everything we can to honor our loved one’s wishes. It brings comfort to know that we’ve put our best foot forward to respectfully honor our loved one.
When we’re entrusted with such an important ceremony, it often marks a departure from our traditional relationship with the deceased. If we’re honoring a parent or grandparent, we’ve become their caretaker for a change.
Ensuring their wishes are carried out is one way that we can pay them back.