The Importance of an End of Life – Funeral Wish List

by | Nov 6, 2022 | Celebrant, Funerals

Discover the importance of a Funeral Wish List and how it can guide you or your loved ones when the day to make funeral arrangements arrives.

How can you have a funeral the way that you actually want it to be?

After losing a number of family members and more recently a dear friend who was someone very close to me, it made me really think about the journey the family takes after the loss of a family member. Who decides what should be done and by who? Are we just following the expected traditions of the elders and what we have been told? What about the wishes of the deceased? There are many questions to ask and we can often fall into the trap of just doing what everyone has done before without fulfilling the wishes of the deceased.

For example, the deceased loved one may not be religious, yet we set about having prayers, religious ceremonies and events as that is what we always do. But what if they were not religious, they were more spiritual or even had already decided what they wanted and it was different to what you expected.

We live in a world where there is more choice for each individual and we should get into the habit of accepting other choices. I often find that many of the situations where individuals do not want to consider other choices is because the normal things they have seen for years and been a part of help them and their own healing process. They are afraid of change or the unknown. They do not look at the bigger picture of how society has evolved and more importantly they forget to focus on what the deceased loved one wants.

The current situation

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We don’t really sit down with family or friends and say “Heh, let’s talk about our funeral and this is what I would like to happen – well why would we? This is not something that we have been taught to do. In Fact, these kinds of conversations are best left unsaid – right!

In life, we grow up being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it and individuals’ thoughts, feelings and wishes are often dismissed.

This is where the power of communication is so vital. It’s so important to be able to say what we want, need, hope for, are feeling, seeing and hearing. This should not be just once a year, but always. Why is it that so many of us feel that we cannot discuss such things? Often, it is because of previous experiences, expectations in the family, the views of society and even the extended family. Why do we worry so much? It is our upbringing that decides how we behave, BUT, it’s time to change that story and make things different.

So what can be done?

When a loved one passes away, talk to friends of the deceased. You will often find that they will have shared their thoughts or even an idea that they would have liked to have. Deep meaningful conversations usually happen with those they trust the most and unfortunately, that is not always the family.

Why not check to see if they have made an End of Life – Funeral wish list. This could be with their will if they have made one, they could have left this with a friend or they may have told a funeral director

What is an End of Life – Funeral Wish List?

It’s a document where an individual can list their wishes for the day that they are no longer physically with us. You can include whether you want a burial or cremation and where you want your ashes scattered. You can also specify if you want a religious ceremony with a vicar or priest or an Independent Celebrant. There are so many things you can mention including the music choice, type of coffin, what flowers, which charity, organ donation and the list is endless.

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How does an End of Life – Funeral Wish List help the family?

By having an End of Life – Funeral Wish List, you are taking away the decision making for those left behind. You are going to get the ceremony that you want and not the one that the family thinks you want. It will also remove so much stress and arguments for the family as they go through the grieving process themselves. You have made the decisions for them.

How can I make an End of Life – Funeral Wish List?

The first step is to communicate your wishes. Be open and tell one person in the family or a close friend and let the family know there is a plan in place. You can also document this and let someone know where it is. You could leave it as part of your will or give a copy to the Funeral Director that the family knows.


Where can I get help?

You can always reach out to me to seek guidance and support. I can help you to feel more confident to tell your family or a friend as well as help you put the End of Life – Funeral Wish List together.

Download the End of Life/Funeral Wishlist

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How can I contact you?

You can find more details about my celebrant funeral services at and you can email me at

© Sonal Dave all rights reserved 2023. No reproduction of this content in part or in full is permitted without prior permission.

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Sonal Dave is a Ceremonies Celebrant, Lady Toastmaster and Professional Public Speaking Expert. Speaking English, Gujarati and basic Hindi, Sonal’s services include symbolic Asian rituals, the sand ceremony and many other symbolic Indian or Western elements.

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End-of-Life/Funeral Wish List & Ashes Puja Ceremony Guide

Download the PDFs to tell your loved ones your wishes or discover more about the scattering of ashes ceremonies. 

I hope these are useful guides