Planning ahead for Dad’s “Final Arrangements”


When dad went into the nursing home after his hospitalization last fall, I had lots of papers to fill out.  One form they wanted me to complete immediately was about the details of his funeral arrangements.  Actually, Ruby Court, the assisted living facility had asked for the same information.  I told them we hadn’t made any plans yet as he was new to the area.

But I decided I needed to find time to begin planning.  It is a bit uncomfortable for me to do this now as dad is back in his assisted living facility and doing well.  However, I know I need plans in place.  I asked dad what he wanted in terms of the funeral and burial at the time we sent mom’s ashes to the Veterans’ Cemetery.  He said he wanted to be cremated also; he wanted to have last rites of the Catholic Church and a funeral mass.

I am not Catholic and dad has not attended church in many years though he did take communion while in the hospital.  I asked a Catholic neighbor what I need to do to make dad’s arrangements.  She said I needed to work with a church that one of my family members was a member of.  I spoke with my daughter-in-law shortly after that and she said her father was active in their church and could make arrangements for me.  I talked to him about it and he gave me a form to enroll dad in that local church which I then did.  Now dad is on the membership list of the local church where my son, daughter and grandson attend.  I still need to arrange to talk to the Priest but haven’t gotten to that yet.

I made a list of tasks that need to be done.  I started by visiting one of the nearby funeral homes and asking for information and a price list.  Later I called several other funeral homes for price lists and information as well.  I got side-tracked when dad went into the hospital, then the nursing home and then back to his assisted living facility, so haven’t completed my list of tasks yet.

I know I still have to plan some type of family get-together whether this is part of the funeral service or later.  I wonder if I will want another one for the extended family as many live close to dad’s house (hundreds of miles from here) which is much closer to the Veterans’ Cemetery than our current community.  I didn’t do that when mom died as there was no way dad could travel for such a gathering.  Instead, had a reunion of immediate family at my daughter’s home nearby.

In addition, most likely I will want a collection of photos to make a collage or slide show for the funeral or memorial service.  I need to start gathering those pictures too.  I wrote mom’s obituary in a hurry also when she died out-of-state.  Now I want to take more time with dad’s, though I can model it after mom’s with the same surviving family, etc.  But as the family historian I would like to be able to write something more expansive.  Knowing such obituaries can get very expensive though, I will probably stick with something similar to mom’s.

So, this is one more unfinished task in my list of things to do.  I hope I feel ready when the need arrives.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
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