The most difficult experiences in life offer an opportunity for you to reflect on what is most important to you. Creating the time and space to practice reflection and promote self-awareness is an important part of moving forward in the months after the loss of a loved one.

Set aside some time

Meaningful reflection takes place when you have the ability to think deeply. This is best done alone, but can also be on the subway, in the car, or taking a stroll around the neighborhood. The important thing is that you are not distracted by your surroundings so you can focus on your thoughts. This time can become your leading source of clarity, creativity, and insight. 

Consider your recent experience with loss 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to aid in your reflection as you look back on your own personal experiences: 

  • How did you feel in the immediate days after the loss?
  • How was your experience with the services? 
  • Was there something you appreciated most about the funeral gatherings? 
  • Was there something you wish would’ve gone differently? 
  • How did you feel in the weeks and months after the loss? 
  • How has your journey through grief shifted or changed as time has moved forward? 

Make an intentional plan

As you consider your answers, you can use these personal reflections to ensure your plans for the future are aligned with what is most important to you. Reflecting on your experiences and taking stock of what matters most allows you to make clear decisions that align with your priorities. 

Having a plan that addresses these decisions and represents your wishes can reduce stress and improve the quality of life for you and the people you love. As you reflect back, consider how you’d like to help shape your own family’s experiences in the event of your passing:

  • What and who would you include in your services?
  • What worries or frustrations might your family experience in the aftermath of your passing? 
  • What can you do to plan ahead to make this difficult time just a little bit easier for your family in the future?

Planning ahead for your own funeral is a thoughtful way to take care of your family, even after you pass on, as it can help reduce stress for your loved ones during a most difficult time. Making a plan also helps to ensure that your life is celebrated in a way that aligns with your wishes.

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