Higgins Chapel

Press file photo. 

It is a long-lasting tradition to plan one’s own wedding, but more people are starting to preplan another life event – their funeral or memorial service.

Planning your own funeral or memorial service doesn’t have to be a gloomy task. Preplanning can provide peace of mind to you and your family and give you time to reflect with your loved ones. 

“There are many advantages to planning in advance,” said Lisa Goudy, managing partner of Higgins Chapel and Oak View Memorial Park in Antioch. “The biggest advantage is the peace of mind you have knowing that everything will be done as you wish. I like to look at it as a gift you can give to your family.”

By planning and specifying the exact type of service you like, friends and family celebrate as you wish, and they’ll have an easier time making complicated decisions during an emotional time. 

“It eliminates the need for family to make decisions at the time of grief,” said Goudy. “It is so difficult for a family to sit in a funeral home and make decisions regarding the person they love, especially if they are not sure what the person would have wanted.”

Planning a funeral or memorial service is no easy task. According to Goudy, there are between 75 and 130 pieces of information and decisions to be made in planning a funeral or memorial service. Examples include whether one wants to be buried or cremated; if and when there will be a service; the choice of casket, urn, music and flowers; viewing or nonviewing; videos; who will officiate the service; and more.

“The more decisions that are made ahead of time, the easier it is for the family,” said Goudy. 

While many people choose burials and having a final resting place where their loved ones can visit, others choose to be cremated.

“Cremated remains are more portable and more flexible,” said Goudy. “We are mobile people these days, and families don’t always want their loved ones in a cemetery forever.”

According to Linda Mar-Veiga, manager of Brentwood Funeral Home, there are many options for what to do with one’s ashes.

“Some people choose beautiful urns, and others choose to have their ashes buried or scattered in the ocean,” said Mar-Veiga. “Another trend is having glass keepsakes made with the ashes.

Whether you choose to be cremated or buried, your loved ones can enjoy a personalized memorial service, which shares your life with those who attend.  

“People don’t want grieving and somber funerals anymore,” said Mar-Veiga. “The new trend is the celebration of life, which is a fun experience celebrating the person’s life.”

Besides choosing music and creating a video of memories, some people opt to include golf clubs, motorcycles, fishing poles, sports paraphernalia, classic cars, homemade cookies or anything that reflects the person’s life. 

“The sky is the limit, and we at Brentwood Funeral Home are able to create that custom piece tailored for the families,” said Mar-Veiga.

Regardless of what options you choose, there are also several options when it comes to paying for the funeral and memorial service. If you don’t want to pay for the service in advance, which locks up prices and saves you money, you can preplan without funding and write everything down that you want, leaving it with a family member or the funeral home, which will keep it on file for when the time comes. 

Higgins Chapel is located at 1310 A St., in Antioch. For more information, visit www.higginsmortuary.com or call 925-757-4343. Brentwood Funeral home is located at 839 First St., in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.dignitymemorial.com or call 925-634-2171.