Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

End of life discussions and why

Ask the Director

Although it is a difficult conversation, I always encourage families to discuss end of life decisions, even if they are a young family. The truth is tomorrow is not promised to anyone of any age. Informing loved ones of your wishes, even if it’s verbal only, can alleviate a great deal of stress on them should you pass unexpectedly.

Too often I have sat with families who have no clue what their loved one wished for in their end-of-life decisions. This, on many occasions, has led to squabbling among family members which inevitably leads to extended grief, heightened stress and unnecessary delays.

It is important to know that once a permit has been granted by the county where a loved one has passed, the funeral establishment can legally move forward with final interment or cremation. Any delays incurred due to family indecision will not only prolong closure but can also lead to additional and unnecessary expenses. Most funeral establishments have additional fees for delays in final burial or cremation after a permit has been issued when the delay is caused by family indecision. This is often a daily fee and can rapidly add up. Financial effects are only one side of this coin. What is more important, is how these delays can hurt families.

Grief is hard enough to contend with. Grief compounded with the “what do we do” family arguments due to differing opinions, and the frustration of being completely lost in the decisions being faced can be insurmountable. The easiest way to avoid these circumstances? Have this conversation before you pass.

So, yes, end-of-life decisions can be difficult to talk about, but ultimately, they are worth the discussion. It will provide peace of mind for both you and your family, by knowing that all the difficult decisions have been taken care of. Plus, you can feel at ease knowing that those left behind will have the opportunity to grieve your passing without any undue stress.

Jason Wheeler is the Managing Funeral Director (FDR4671) with Wood Family Funeral Service.