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Planning Ahead

The Heritage: One Family's Story

Kim was driving home to visit with her Mom and Dad. She could see the old farmhouse in the distance; the aged home stood out because of its historical significance. Everyone in the community knew the home; it dated back to the 1800ís. Her great grandparents had built it, and it had been passed down through the generations. accumulate It had been updated many times to include fresh paint, modern plumbing, and new appliances as the old ones gave out. It was more than a home though, it was a living legacy, and she had very fond memories of growing up there.

In the spring the fruits of her Momís labor had shown forth. Daffodils and tulips surrounded the perimeter of the house. The sweet scent of lilacs filled the air in late May, and prize-winning roses packed the flowerbeds. In summer yellow marigolds and purple zinnias lined the quarter mile driveway. It was always an explosion of color and a source of great pride for their family.

Earlier in the month Kim and her husband had talked about all the "what ifs" regarding her Mom and Dad. Kim realized she hadnít a clue as to what her parents would want should they die unexpectedly. They had always been a family that lived for the most part in the moment. Sure they had planned family vacations, and saved for college, but they had not discussed death. She didnít know what kind of service they would want, or what funeral home they would want to use. Many other questions provoked her thoughts too, such as, had they pre-planned, or pre-funded their funeral arrangements, did they want to be buried in the cemetery, or did they want to be cremated? All these questions served as impetus to call a meeting with them, to discuss their plans for that unavoidable day, when they would pass from this world. She didnít relish this conversation, it is not easy to come to grips with the end of life - it is, however - inevitable

Sitting in the old parlor Kim was surprised to learn that her parents had pre-planned their funerals, and they had been making quarterly installment payments over the years so that their daughter would not have to worry about the financial end of things. They knew that dealing with the grief of their deaths would be enough for Kim to deal with.

Her Mom informed her that she wanted to be buried with her gardening gloves and watering can. Every year she bought a new pair, and saved the old ones as reminder of what flowers she had planted the previous year. She had accumulated forty pairs, and wanted to make sure that they went with her, save a couple of pairs for Kim. She also wanted a traditional funeral service to be held at their church, followed by a graveside burial. If the weather was nice, she would like to have a picnic in their back yard, and Kim was to make sure that her blueberry pancakes would be served.

Her Dad viewed things a bit differently. He wanted to be cremated and a life celebration service was to be held at their house. He informed Kim that he would like to have some of his ashes scattered in the creek, and some scattered over the pond down on the lower twenty acres. He did want a marker to be set next to her Momís grave so that they could be memorialized in the same place. A simple and proud man who had served in World War II he instructed Kim to contact the Veterans Department about his passing. He knew that at the end of the ceremony the remaining family members would be given a flag. He had even gone so far as to make a display case out of cherry wood. Kim could buy one, but he thought it only fitting that he make one from one of the many trees that grew on their land, besides he liked wood working, as was evident by all the handcrafted furniture that filled the house.

Once her parents had shared their funeral plans Kim felt a weight lift from her shoulders. She wanted to honor and respect her parentís wishes, and now she had the all the information at her fingertips. When they died, she knew it would be hard, but she also felt better knowing that they had planned for that unavoidable event.

Mitchell-Jerdan Funeral Home Ltd.

1200 Wabash Avenue
Mattoon, Illinois 61938

Telephone: 217.234.8828
Fax: 217.258.0799
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