By Loretta Zack
The best gift you can ever give your family is to arrange your own funeral. …Did I hear a sharp intake of breath?
There are certain things that one should do in life, but somehow funeral planning does not always happen. When you are young, you have no concept of the future and as you get older, it becomes taboo. But when it happens and you have not made plans, it is a nightmare.
In my own life, I have been through many varying stages with family and friends where no planning was done and families tended to argue. In some cases, it caused everyone to totally fall out with one another. This is such an emotional time for everyone concerned and that is why planning ahead is the most sensible answer, however gruesome.
Truthfully, when I say gruesome, it actually can be very satisfying to know that because of your actions, your children and family will not have too much to worry about, as long as you have everything in writing.
The actual funeral arrangements can be so simple as long as you know what to do. Working at Temple Shalom for over nine years now, I have learned so much, and feel that with this knowledge, I have been able to guide and help people where they are just not sure what to do. And let’s face it, heartbreak, sadness, emotions, you just cannot think straight. For this reason, it is so important to shop for a funeral home and speak with our clergy. These are the people trained to help you during such a tough time. Since, in the Jewish tradition, burial takes place quickly, even if death was expected, the grief that comes with the loss is so overwhelming that it is difficult to know where to begin.
Over the years, members of our community have asked many questions to help them plan. For example:
- What do I do, I have never done this before?
- My children do not want to observe shiva. What do I do?
- How many days do I have to sit shiva?
- Who will be there to help me?
- Where do I get the black ribbon and the large yahrzeit candle?
- How am I going to cope?
- My brother will not come to my house to sit shiva, what can we do?
- What is Sheloshim?
- None of my family are Jewish, and they will not know what to do? How do I handle that?
- What is the difference between a burial service and a memorial service?
It is important to know that we at Temple Shalom will always be available to help with any questions you have. Never be afraid to ask. That is why the Temple Shalom family is so important—we are here to support and assist you.
I strongly urge you to take that giant step and make arrangements now. Leave your family the best gift, ever!