Death is a difficult subject to broach. Our reticence is understandable and perhaps a little detrimental. We’re all going to die, so why not talk about it? I’m not trying to be morbid but a healthy conversation about the inevitable can be productive and practical.
If you haven’t thought about the “end” then you’re probably not prepared. There’s plenty of work to be done after you’re gone. Tony Ward is the owner of Lasting Touch Memorials in Yelm. He’s a big proponent of planning ahead. The amount of time you put in before will save your loved ones unneeded worry and stress.
Ward has worked in various aspects of the death care industry for almost 30 years. In his mind, the first step is to contact a funeral home. “Prices and professionalism vary throughout the region,” says Ward. Next, it’s important to think about what kind of service you want. Do you want it graveside or in a church? Somewhere else? Your decision will be informed by your beliefs and traditions.
Cemeteries may look alike but each one has its own rules and regulations. Some allow large statues while others insist on flat markers. If you’re a veteran do you want to be buried in a military cemetery? Also, think about proximity. You might find a really nice cemetery that’s 60 miles from the nearest friend or family member.
When it comes to choosing a memorial it’s important to think about how you want to be remembered. “Generations from now people will know who you are,” says Ward. Do you have a favorite color? Do you have a hobby? A little forethought means your monument will be an accurate representation of you.
A memorial is also helpful in the immediate. “A lot of times a person will die but there’s not closure until the marker goes on the grave,” says Ward. The days and weeks following a death are difficult. Picking out your memorial in advance is one less thing your loved ones have to deal with. They can spend that time focusing on recovery.
All of this assumes that you already know what you want done with your remains. Are you going to be buried or cremated? Some people are part of a family plot while others want to be placed next to their significant other. Either way, make sure you pick a marker that has enough room for extra names or designs.
Doing your homework is a good idea in life and in death. When it comes to choosing a business to create your memorial make sure to do your research. “You want someone that’s been in business for many years,” says Ward. Longevity isn’t always a good gauge. Be sure of the company’s reputation and its overall experience. You want someone who has worked with people from different socioeconomic, religious and cultural backgrounds. If the business has only worked with one type of client then they might not understand your particular situation.
There are other, more delicate issues to consider. For now, just knowing how many decisions need to be made is important. With any luck this knowledge will open a dialogue about death and what we’d like to see happen once we’ve passed.
Lasting Touch Memorials
711 East Yelm Ave
Yelm, WA 98597