Planning a funeral for a loved one is never a process one looks forward to, but with the right preparations, it can become an easier one. At Cook-Walden Funeral Home & Cemeteries-Pflugerville, general manager Rick Davis said the earlier families start thinking about the process, the easier it is once the funeral actually takes place.

As someone who has been in the industry for many years, Davis shared his tips on how to get the funeral planning process started and how being proactive can benefit everyone in the long run.

1. Be open to a conversation about pre-arrangements

Though it is not something most people like to think about, Davis encourages everyone to start making their pre-arrangements as soon as possible. By doing this, loved ones are protected from worrying about funeral planning during the grieving process and can rest easy knowing everything is taken care of according to their own wishes.

“​​We want to talk to our families about getting all of their affairs in order to save them the grief and the difficulty whenever it's time to make the funeral arrangements for somebody,” Davis said. “There's all the decisions and what happens is a family or an individual comes in to make arrangements where there's been no pre-planning at all, they're already in a fog because they've just lost their loved ones. Pre-planning can help greatly with this, and help the family from emotional overspending.”

2. Start checking off some decisions early

Davis encourages people to start thinking about decisions like whether the person wants to be buried or cremated, what stories they want reflected on their headstone, what kind of casket they would like and what Bible verses and songs they want at the funeral, if any. When families start making these decisions early on, they are able to rest easy knowing their loved one was involved in the decision-making and is happy with their choices.

3. Make a financial plan sooner rather than later

Funerals can often carry a heavy financial burden, especially when they have to be planned suddenly. By planning ahead, families can make payments in advance or pay for small funeral items instead of letting costs add up all at once.

“Making all of these decisions, they have to figure out how they're going to pay for it, whether they have insurance or credit cards or whatever it is. The ability to just remember and celebrate their loved one is lost,” Davis said.

4. Plan things to make it feel more like a celebration

A recent change Davis has noticed in the business is that traditional funerals are being replaced with celebrations of life, instead of hyperfocusing on the sadness of the event. A recent funeral Davis helped plan was for an avid golfer. The family chose to give everyone an engraved golf ball with the deceased’s name on them for people to take and remember him by.

“We do a lot of things to put just an amazingly positive spin on it and look at the good things in somebody's life. That whole concept didn't even exist that long ago, certainly didn't exist 10 years ago,” Davis said. “If you come into our Walden Room, you're going to see round tables setup, it looks and feels more like a celebration.”

5. Think about not only the ceremony, but what happens after

When families are planning the funeral ceremony, they also need to think about where they will ultimately be laid to rest. Thankfully, Cook-Walden has Family Service Advisors who help with planning the cemetery aspect as well as the actual funeral, with many options for both traditional burial and cremation.

“At the end of the day, what we want the public to know is that it is possible to make the whole experience as positive as possible, because obviously you're losing a loved one but the experience can be radically different,” Davis said.

To start the process for yourself or a loved one, Davis recommends giving Cook-Walden Capital Parks a call at 512-251-4118 or visiting the facility at 14501 N. Interstate Hwy. 35, Pflugerville.

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Storytelling Multi-Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.