Tips for Dealing with Family Disagreements During Funeral Planning
Planning a funeral might not be the easiest process to go through, but the relationships among family members are a source of strength and comfort during a difficult time. Due to the emotional nature of making funeral arrangements, some individuals may be prone to giving in to ill tempers. Know that family disputes after a death may not necessarily be the result of a fundamental disagreement, but are simply reflective of the high-stress nature of making burial arrangements. Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose recommends the following tips:
Remind yourself of what’s truly important.
When negative feelings run amok, it’s a challenge to think with reason and compassion. Being angry at a family member can remind you of all of the past disagreements you’ve had with him or her, and that will only deepen the divide between the two of you. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself of what’s really important: Your family relationships and your faith. Is it worth undermining your relationship with your sister to make a point? Are you truly willing to push your brother away because he doesn’t like the Scripture readings you’ve selected? Pray upon the disagreement, and decide whether it’s worth it to you to set aside your hurt feelings for the sake of the family.
Be an open-minded listener.
The heated emotions caused by family disputes can cloud one’s understanding of the original problem. When you and your relative have calmed down a little, ask him or her to sit down with you to work things out. Use a calm tone of voice and non-judgmental language during your discussion, and most importantly, keep an open mind. Ask your loved one to explain his or her perspective on the issue. Perhaps, for example, you had no idea how much it meant to your family member to have the organist play a particular selection during the funeral. With greater understanding, comes harmony.
Improve communication within the family.
Moving forward, make an effort to improve your communication with your loved ones. Funeral planning may sometimes involve disputes, but it’s important to remember that your remaining family members are all you have left. Cherish your time with them, and be willing to swallow your pride for the sake of these relationships.