Thanksgiving is traditionally family-time. For some, it is a source of joy, togetherness and love, and for others a time of stress, divisiveness and dysfunction. Planning ahead for how to handle Aunt Rose who isn’t fond of cousin Morris, and your sister Lisa whose politics clashes in boisterous debate with many of your guests, is reason alone to have a game plan.
You might even resort to place cards to seat everyone accordingly in order to minimize some of the inevitable drama and disagreement. We love our family, but we also need to be wise enough to think ahead for any pitfalls, so that we can make this day we gather together one of harmony.
And like so many other times when families unite, whether in joy or sorrow, we can’t deny the reality that none of us will be here forever. We should cherish the moments we have with one another today, and be cognizant enough to relay our heartfelt wishes for when the day comes when we must be laid to rest.
Inevitably, if we don’t do this for them, there will be a moment when our family will have to meet to deal with these difficult decisions when they are grieving. That is why no matter what our choice may be, it is advisable to make our final arrangements ahead of time, so that our family can come together and follow them, instead of being pulled apart by conflicting decisions during a time of mourning.
“We should cherish the moments we have with one another today, and be cognizant enough to relay our heartfelt wishes for when the day comes when we must be laid to rest.”
It may be surprising to note, that our loved ones may not realize that our desire could be a choice of a cremation versus a casket, or a mausoleum versus in-ground burial. Their personal choice, though well-meaning, may not be ours. If we keep this to ourselves and not pre-plan it, our final wishes may never be fulfilled.
Coping with loss often brings out the worst in us. We feel pain and confusion, and that is absolutely not the time to be making important decisions. Especially decisions for a loved one, and especially when you are not the sole decision-maker. In families where there are multiple next of kin, everyone’s opinion may be valid and well-meaning – but those opinions may be just like some of our Thanksgiving table talk – filled with tension or opposing views. Expenses are also part of the stress, as your loved ones face the costs of these final arrangements, and may find them to be not within their budget – and this too can cause family resentment or guilt.
Although it is a topic many of us shun, whatever our choice may be, if we take the courageous first step to look into our options for pre-need planning wherever we choose to be laid to rest, we are doing a mitzvah for our loved ones.
We can tell you that for so many others, choosing a sacred space in the Beth El Mausoleum has been a relief, in that it removes the burden from those we love the most. We certainly wouldn’t want our passing to be the reason for added grief, pain, anger or discord.
“If we take the courageous first step to look into our options for pre-need planning wherever we choose to be laid to rest, we are doing a mitzvah for our loved ones.”
That is why pre-need planning with our caring Beth El Mausoleum Director will allow you to discuss various choices including payment options, and equally important, our compassionate clergy is always available to guide you with Jewish customs and traditions.
So yes, pre-need planning focuses on the fact that instead of denying these realities, plan for them, so that your family can join together at their time of mourning without the additional stress of making choices that you could have done for them. It’s a gift you can give them, that will live on and ensure that there will be one less reason for your loved ones to disagree. Just as harmony at the Thanksgiving table is our hope, harmony is why pre-need planning is so important, and your family will be thankful to you eternally.