Funeral Plan

I hope no one minds me posting this and I hope I am in the right part of the forum to ask.
Basically I was wondering if anyone had already arranged their funeral or taken out a plan for when the time comes.
I saw my consultant yeaterday and the chemo I’m on is not working on my liver mets and my options are either a new funded chemo or a possible trial. I know these are still options which may in my wildest dreams do some good, but I just feel that prehaps after 8 yrs of different treatments that my long term options may be running out.
Please accept my apologies for this depressing post as I would normally say ‘Bring it on’ to a set back and I know that everyone tries to keep upbeat and positive in their posts. I am just struggling with servere lack of sleep due to steriods and a very onorthadox development in my relationship with my husband (which is a whole other story!).
Anyway many thanks for listening and any advice or info would be appreciated

Hello simmoo

I am sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time at the moment.

Maybe you would like to talk to a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 600 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

With best wishes

June, moderator

Hi Simmoo,I haven’t arranged my own but I will do if my BC returns,however my mum did when she died from BC over 20 yes ago and my dad did almost 2 yes ago when he died from lung cancer.Myself and my brother and sister just had to discuss our own thoughts and feelings with the funeral director,everything else was taken care of.We personally found this a great help at a time when you are so devastated and it also gives the loved one a way of saying things they perhaps never said whilst they were around.In my mind I have thoughts about what I would like when I go and of course there is also the cost of the funeral,I wouldn’t like my family to struggle to find the money at such a bad time in their lives.I would also like it to be a celebration of my life rather than a miserable affair.Its an interesting topic and I will watch with interest for other opinions.I would just like to add that I hope your BC responds well to your further treatment and you are around for a few more years yet!Best wishes,

Hi Simmoo
I work in the funeral business and many people do come in and arrange their funeral in advance, lots have no health worrys and some have terminal illness’s it can help some people to know that IF anything should happen to them their wishes will be taken into consideration and it will be less for the family to worry about in a difficult time, I have arranged many funerals that have been pre planned and the family are relieved that the loved one has been able to guide them , its an extrenely difficult thing to even contemplate doing when you have a terminal illness but a very brave and thoughtful thing for your family, whatever you decide to do try talk to your family about your wishes so that they know how you feel and then you can either leave it at that knowing you have had your say , I pray you will have many more years and treatment will continue but you are a very brave and thoughtful person indeed to be contemplating the what if

Good vibes & my very best wishes that your situation improves xx

hi simmoo
I have made my will,taken out an insurance to cover the cost of my funeral ans have included some of my wishes in my will.
I have been considering actually planning the details of my funeral because fistly my son is athiest and secondly my son is jewish.Whilst I am not an avid churchgoer I was raised in a church attending household, and do have certain beliefs and an idea of how I would like my funeral to be.I do feel as this is the last thing i will ever do I want to do it my way, and I feel it will help my family.

I think it is down to how you feel, and if you really want to do this then why not.You may wish to talk it through with your family first…in my family that would lead to a strong exchange of feelings and at the end of the day it is my funeral xx

L xx

Hi Simmoo
I personally haven’t but I have not got secondary’s but my friend was dx with cancer last Oct and given 4 months she passed away just before Christmas. She had completely arranged what she wanted for her funeral although it was in a letter rather than with funeral director. However I know her husband and boys got a lot of pleasure? (Not sure that is right word! ) from making sure all her wishes were adhered to and it also made it easier for them ( their words)
Hope this helps a little and I hope the other options work for you for a lonf time yet.
Very best wishes
Jill xxxxxxx

I think it’s a kindness to those left behind that we organise our funerals. We can then spare them the agony of “what would we have wanted?”. They will know that we got what we wanted. Although I’ve not planned my funeral as such, my children are aware of what I want in general and know where to find the details when necessary.
Hopefully not for a good few years yet.

Simmoo, I hope that a new treatment plan for you will bring good results for many years.

Simmoo, I haven’t thought of arranging my funeral, but I have talked many a time with my grown-up children about death and what sort of ideas I have about my own funeral. It’s not a taboo subject for us. My friend died in October of secondary BC. She payed for her own funeral and wrote the entire service… even left out us having to sing any hymns,etc. first thing in the morning as we’d all probably have croaky voices!! She had a minister to ‘conduct’ it all, and we just listened to the lovely poem she wrote herself before she died, folk music she’d chosen and words for her daughters and family. It was lovely actually - very soothing for us all. She had pictures of her favourite things (guitar and horses) and photo of herself when young with her two daughters. Also a photo of her which was one I took when she was well and I’m glad I did, because it was the most recent one. Hope you do well Simmoo.
Hope this helps a bit. Jen x

Hi Simmoo, please don’t apologise for your posting, this is the place for such a post. I’ve been living with my mets for 9 years and like you, being realistic, I have been thinking of funeral plans whilst hoping my treatment (and yours) will keep us here for a good while yet.
I’ve had chats with my family and they know I want a burial in a woodland burial park a couple of miles away from where we live. I had thought about choosing and buying a plot but although I think I would be ok with knowing exactly where I’m going to be buried I’m not sure my husband would so I will leave it up to the family to choose my plot. I’ve kept some poetry I especially like on my pc along with some song titles. When my Mum died very soon, 10 days after her cancer diagnosis my sister and myself found it a comfort planning her funeral and thinking of what Mum would have liked said and sung.
Good Luck with your next treatment plan, I hope all goes well for you…Take Care…xx

H simmoo, I’m sorry your recent treatm ent has stopped working, its so hard after receiving this news I have just started new treatment after my cancer has extensively travelled. My cousin died last year of cancer at age 54 and her funeral was so unbelievably sad. It made me think about mine and how I wanted it a celebration rather than a ‘funeral’. At the same time I’m a catholic who has lost her faith and as hard as I try I can’t regain it so I can’t decide whether to go to Church or straight to the crem. Probably let my my familly decide. But I definately want alway look on the bright side of life played. I think if it gives you comfort to plan it ,go for it. Take care xxx

Simmoo, I’m sorry to hear that your treatment isn’t working. Hopefully the new funded chemo/trial will work.
I think you are doing the right thing in arranging your own funeral. I know I have by doing mine. I made my funeral arrangements many years ago and have always felt good about doing so. Maybe I’m being selfish, but my funeral is my funeral and I would like things done in my way. I’ve arranged everything except the date!
The venue (house) is sorted and as I have asked to be buried at 2pm (so that time is in my arrangements all ready for me to go into my plot in the cemetery) I have asked that people start attending the house anywhere from 10am onwards. I’m not having an undertaker involved in my funeral, I’m not being embalmed, nor done up with make up (have never worn it, so don’t see the point in wearing it when I’m dead), my coffin, headstone and clothing have been chosen as well as the music I like (although I do change some songs from time to time, but have kept An Ubhal as Airde by Runrig and Somewhere by Il Divo as the beginning and end songs), food and refreshments sorted, the pallbearers have been chosen (and accepted)…oh and the transport (my sister’s cart and horses) all sorted out.
Some people might think this is weird, but invitations will be sent out for my funeral (albeit the date still to be confirmed), especially should I ever be told that I have so long left to live, as I only wish my family and my closest and dearest friends to be there. I don’t want anybody and everybody turning up.

Hi Simmoo, like some other ladies here I have a funeral plan in place which I pay monthly for as I have secondaries and like to feel in control of my life. I chose to do this so that my family are not left to pay for me, I asked those I want to be bearers and all said yes they would be honoured to do that for me, the transport is included in the plan, all my son has to do is let the funeral company know when I pass away and they will deal with the rest. I hope that by arranging my funeral myself I will get what I wish for and make it easier for those I will leave behind. x

hello Simmoo, I am so sorry to read that your treatment has stopped working, and hope that the trial might prove a way forward for you, if that is what you would hope too. As my title suggests from time to time I conduct funerals, which means going to visit families at a time when they often in shock and grief; the most common concern they have is ‘getting it wrong’ (whatever that means) and there are two ways really to avoid that fear. One is a pre-planned funeral, which with a decent funeral director can be what you would want, not an ‘off the shelf’ plan. The other is to talk with family and leave them some instructions of what you would like.
There are no ‘though shalts’ with funerals, and a minister/imam/rabbi/humanist celebrant/non-religious celebrant etc. worth their salt will work with you/your family to create a funeral that meets your needs. I wondered about posting more info here but decided against it, as I don’t want to influence you unduly, but if it would help, please feel to PM me.

If you have a local library two useful books to look for are
The Natural Death Handbook (which gives a lot of detail about what is permitted and avialable, but for some people has 'too much information")
The Dead Good Funeral Guide - sadly this is out of print now, but it’s down to earth and practical and used to be popular with hospices.

I have several books of poems and readings, but they are at church and I’m not!

Hello Simmo

I am so sorry your treatment is no longer working for you, and hope that you find a trial that works for you. I don’t think your post is depressing, you’re just being practical.

I have a kind of funeral plan, which I acquired by accident. OH and I took out an over 55’s policy each with the Post Office. Shortly afterwards, we received letters from a well known national funeral directors offering to pay an extra amount towards a funeral if we used them. Cheeky, I know. But as our plan was to use the insurance money for our funerals, we accepted the offer. It does bring peace of mind, knowing our children won’t have to worry about this in the future. I remember how difficult it was for us when our mum died. Dad arranged everything with my sister, but I think I would have felt better if it had all been pre-arranged, as dad was all over the place and not really up to making such decisions.

Hi Simmoo, sorry to hear the treatment has stopped working. All we can do is try and take everything that is offered to us to enable us to get through this horrible time. I was 43 when dx with bc, my treatment finished in jan this year. I have planned and paid for my funeral, my partner and friends know this but I feel I am not able to tell my mum.
Hope everything goes well, hugs xx

Many thanks for all your kind words and advice.
I am feeling much more level headed today and not quite so panicky. Sleep has helped.
I was told yesterday that I will hopefully be starting the funded chemo in a few weeks as I was not eligible for the trial after all, so that’s one decision dealt with.
I am certainly going to make some plans for my funeral but am not quite sure an arrangement is the right thing. I need to speak to my husband but now is not quite the right time. In the meantime I can think about what I want and prehaps do some research. A major part is the money side. I couldn’t believe how expensive it all is and I don’t really want anything fancy. So I would like to start putting something aside.
I don’t want to leave my family with nothing to do as I know having ‘something to do’ between times can be helpful.
Revcat - I will PM you at some point if I may as I would really appreciate what advice you have on the faith side of things
One again many many thanks for all your kind words and advice. I wish you all good things always

Hi again Simmoo, glad you are feeling less anxious today and that your next steps are a little clearer. please do PM when you feel that would be helpful… I do not force my beliefs on anyone but am happy to chat over faith stuff in as general or particular way as is helpful.

I totally get what you are saying about costs, and I feel that sometimes people feel they have to choose expensive ‘packages’ when it isn’t what they want or can afford, because it is somehow expected. That’s the where the Natural Death Handbook (see also is useful as it explains all the options, and how to go about arranging a funeral without ludicrous expense. A good Funeral Director will be willing to meet your needs/desires… My one word of caution, based on experience where I used to live, is that some offer ‘package deals’ whereby ‘my sister runs a florists’ (convenient) or ‘we have a catering suite’ etc. By thinking what you want, and looking around, you can save a fortune and have the most meaningful, personalised funeral. For those who can afford the package deals, and find it helpful to have a ‘one stop shop’ that’s brilliant, but there is no requirement for that.

I really hope the funded chemo keeps all this at bay for a very long time, and you are able to enjoy life in its fullness for a good while yet. Hugs.

Sound advice as usual Revcat, as you say a good reputable funeral director would never try & push a plan onto anyone, I always sit down with a cup of tea and chat, go over options wishes etc and then generally try and get the person to go home and think about things and talk it over with loved ones, it is such an emotive issue its not something that should be rushed or pushed onto anybody , any F.D of their worth should be caring and compassionate , I feel by having being DX myself with bc last year if anyting I hope I now have even MORE empathy towards my clients , To sit and arrange your own funeral is not something everyone could do or wish to but I would always advise anyone to try and let loved ones know of their wishes as it can make it just a tiny bit easier for the family to know what was wanted at such a difficult time and some not all feel it has helped them to have some sort of arrangement in place but as I say it is such a hard thing for anyone to do. I have many a time been near to tears myself but had to keep a professional manner when arranging a funeral, once the office door is closed and the family have left it is a different matter I have let the tears flow, I think thats called being human and would hope many others in the profession are the same

Best wishes to all x

Lottie, I would have to say, at risk of being sexist, that the few women FDs I have worked with have all been amazing… great attention to detail, empathy, ‘good up front’, right balance of gentleness and firmness, humour and professionalism. I don’t know where you’re based, but I reckon wherever it is, they are very fortunate to have you.

Dear Simmoo,

So sorry to hear that your recent treatment was unsuccessful … all fingers crossed for the next round.

I write, not only as a BC patient (diagnosed in November, just started chemo), but as a fairly recent widow. My husband died earlier last year, just 12 days after being diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer at the age of 57. In a state of devastation and shock, I found myself having to second guess his wishes with regard to his funeral. I too “wanted to get it right”.

I did my best and aimed for a quiet celebration of his life, rather than a day of gloom. He was a very modest man – never wanting to be the centre of attention (tricky on this occasion) and I knew that he wouldn’t have wanted a great fuss to be made. So it was a small, personal, non-religious affair for closest family and friends. This approach led, unfortunately to some unpleasant repercussions with his brother (who had showed very little genuine interest in him / us over the years) and criticism from old friends from his home town (where there is a strong expectation that certain religious rituals should be followed). My (in my opinion, justified,) unwillingness to let the brother dictate what happens to the ashes has also caused a regretful rift.

I have learned the hard way that I now need to protect myself and my loved ones – particularly as I have rather strong views on funerals, their purpose and cost.

Prior to my first BC surgery in December I made sure that I left a clear note for my own brother in which I have asked for some very simple things to be respected when planning my funeral. This would hopefully spare them the additional turmoil that I went through last year, and give them some feeling that they “got it right”. I didn’t feel it appropriate to raise the subject in person at the time. Dropping the BC diagnosis bombshell was bad enough so soon after my husband’s death! Leaving my wishes in a letter seemed right. It is also something I can change at any time as things progress.

Wishing you all the best with your deliberations and further treatment,