Having a family member in hospice care is not easy. There is no denying death is near. Sometimes the care is difficult, especially when the illness is painful. Life is coming to an end.
Sometimes the funeral is something that the person who is dying wants to talk about. They open the discussion. They want to actively engage, maybe even provide instructions. This can be hard for the family. It may even be tempting to hush the person who is dying rather than embrace their desire and use it.
When a dying person wants to talk about how they will be remembered, it is a gift. It is an opportunity for them to reflect on and share the high points of their life. What was important to them, what it is they loved about their life. What the dying person needs from their family is for those around them to listen. Take it all in. These last requests are an opportunity. They provide the occasion to learn about favorite songs, readings, and stories. These requests can provide the basis for a meaningful funeral that helps family members begin to heal. Hold the hand, share the memories, no need to act … just be.
Of course, this is not the experience everyone has with a family member in hospice. Often the illness and the care that is required is so devastating that it is all that those closest can handle. Still, there is one decision that will need to be considered. Often, as a part of the hospice admission procedure, the family will be asked to designate a funeral home of choice and determine disposition of the body. That is to decide if there will be a cremation or a burial.
Knowing which funeral home to call is helpful. When choosing a funeral home most families will choose the funeral home their family has worked with in the past or the one members of their church have used. Perhaps a family member has attended a funeral that really resonated with them and would like to use that funeral home. Which funeral home to call is really the only decision that needs to be made at this stage. All of the rest, even the bury or cremate question, can wait. The funeral home will help you with everything else when the time comes. There will be time.
The funeral, how a family chooses to remember a beloved family member creates a lasting impression. The funeral changes the focus from the illness that brought about death to the full rich life that was lived. It is the opportunity to remember the childhood, loves, talents, and experiences that made up the fabric of a loved one’s life. The funeral doesn’t heal the pain of the loss that comes when someone we love dies but it does begin the process of healing.
When you have a loved one in hospice care you are in well-trained, caring hands. The medical professionals will walk you through all the stages, they will tell you what to expect, they will hold your hand and relieve the pain of the person you love and are losing. When death comes the funeral professionals take your loved one and your family into their care. The funeral professionals will help you put together a funeral service that honors the person you love and lost.