There comes a time when we confront one of life’s most challenging events: the death of a parent. While it is inevitable, dwelling on it can uncover a well of emotions. These emotions are unavoidable, but there is a way you can prepare for this event and fill the void after their passing.

Understand Their Funeral Wishes

Starting with the formalities when you discuss the inevitable with a parent can help ease the emotional pain when you need to deal with their death. Getting their final wishes correct can also help transform the experience of loss and devastation into satisfaction you were able to meet their desires.

There’s no need to overwhelm them or yourself with information when you discuss the funeral wishes with your parent. Instead, ask a few questions about their final resting place, the funeral service, and even things like flower arrangements or their burial outfits. You can discuss this over time to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the thought of their passing.

When the time comes, having this information is a relief and can help you spend more time grieving than worrying about whether you’re giving them what they would have wanted.

Know Where Important Documents are Located

Another formality you should address before their passing is the documentation. Know where your parent has kept copies of a will, insurance or funeral policies, and other documentation you would need following their death. There is a list of 42 items that will be required by the Executor of the estate. It will make life (and death) so much easier if you have all these documents filed together in My Life File! Download here.

Having this information beforehand reduces the stress associated with the burial of a parent.

Prepare Your Support Network

Dealing with the emotional aspects of death is less straightforward to navigate than the necessary logistical arrangements.

The passing of a parent is distressing. It can unearth emotions that are often challenging to come to terms with on your own. That’s why you shouldn’t try to address them alone and instead set up a support network to help you handle your feelings. Your support network can include your siblings, who would be experiencing similar emotions, or friends or relatives who’ve experienced grief themselves. Beyond your inner circle, consider professional support if you feel overwhelmed.

Speaking to a counselor or therapist can be equally helpful as sharing your feelings with a friend or spouse, and may even give you the freedom to discuss more challenging topics.

Share and Save Memories

Children often feel guilt after the passing of a parent because there’s a sense of not having done enough or connected enough. You can avoid this feeling by making an effort to share memories with your parents while they are still around.  Go through old photo albums and ask them to explain the meaning behind pictures, how they felt at the time, and even who the people were in the photograph. If there are pictures they haven’t added to a photo album yet, spend a few days — over a weekend or public holiday — organising and scrapbooking those pictures.

Create New Memories

While it makes sense to place a parent in a care facility in the final throws of a terminal illness or when their health is rapidly declining as they age, you can still make an effort to try to make new memories. Taking them shopping or out for lunch can be just as much a bonding experience. Rather than spending all their final days in a care facility, take some time off to do activities they would appreciate, like visiting a childhood home or a favourite place. If they are not healthy or mobile enough to get around, why not introduce them to modern technology, and let them join in a video call to friends or family members that they have not heard from in a while? These are the memories that, when they’ve passed, you would appreciate having.

For funerals with care, compassion and dignity – contact the Sonja Smith Elite Funeral Group: