A Letter To The Funeral Director I Haven’t Met Yet


Dear funeral director I haven’t met yet,

I know I should have written before. Please forgive me.

But I got the feeling that you were beginning to forget about me. And I wanted to let you know that while I haven’t been upfront with what I wanted from you, I’m here now.

They say you only live once, but the way I see it, you only die once too, so I’m here to tell you what I want when my time comes so we can make it count.

First off, even though I try to be brave, I’m scared to die. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me when my time comes. Will it be like a fuse blowing out and everything that’s inside me will shut off, forever? Or will it be an awakening, a new chapter? When we meet, I’m going to want to talk about that with you. And I want you to be knowledgeable, comforting and open. If we’re going to plan my end-of-life, I want to know what to expect. Because we can never be too prepared, can we?

Secondly, you should know that I don’t know a damn thing about planning a funeral. I’ve heard the terms “green burial”, “embalming” and “cremation” before, but I’m not sure which one is best for me. All I ask is that you present me all of the options that I have. Not as a sales person, but as a guide who’s there to help me choose what’s best for my needs, not your pocket. I promise if you help me in a meaningful way, I’ll recommend you to my friends and family.

Third, you should understand that I don’t want my funeral to be like anyone else’s. My life is like a glimpse of light in the sky, like a shooting star that’s gone just as fast as it appears. I want to know that I can count on you to show the world what made my light shine the brightest. So skip the overplayed Amazing Grace tunes and the cookie-cutter eulogy. Interview me and my family and find out my biggest accomplishments, values and favorite things in the world so you can put them on display. In a world that moves this fast, it’s easy to be forgotten, so show the world what made me unique with a service that’s just as unique.

Lastly,  I need you to help me plan a meaningful, extraordinary way to celebrate my life.  That means you can’t offer me the same services you offered my mom or my grandmother. I’m a millennial, and I know what I want even more than my Baby Boomer mother does. You can start by leaving the funeral home, black clothes and funeral flowers behind with my relatives. Instead, I want bright colors, sunshine and sunflowers everywhere. Cater my spectacular celebration amazing food and even better drinks.

Encourage people to come together and celebrate me with stories and memories, not mourn me. Inspire laughter. So much laughter that I can hear it all the way from heaven. Tell my funeral guests about a place that people can go to remember me. Don’t forget about my family, either. Make sure they’re taken care of when I’m gone. Use your knowledge and comforting ways to help them grieve in a healthy way.

And when it’s all said and done, showcase all of the hard work you did celebrating me so that other people know how you can celebrate them, too. I know it’s hard, but it’s OK to brag sometimes, and I’m letting you know that you’re more than welcome to use me as an example to inspire the many people who will walk through your doors after me.

I know this might sound like a lot, but at least now you know how to offer me what I’m looking for when I find you.

I look forward to the day we meet, my future funeral director.

Yours truly,

The millennial you haven’t met yet

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  1. Leah Sanders

    You know what I want we have discussed it. But this sounds so good. Add it to what we have already talked about. The main thing is that no one see my body I want to be remembered as I was before I got sick. I do not want sad songs I want Songs like theres Power in the blood, of course my Lighthouse song, Lori to sing Amazing Grace the way she sings it to a different tune., then any others you can think of or that Jenn wants. If anyone wants to speak let them. Then after the conclusion have a party just no alcohol please . Good food, good fellowship. I have thought long and hard about what I want done with my ashes I want 1/2 of them buried next to my mother .I don’t know if they can take my dads name off that stone if so have it done and put mine there. Then the other 1/2 buried next to my baby girl. Kathy will know where she is buried . All of my possession will go to you and Jenn. If God forbid and you two are no longer together then it will all go to Jenn. Even if you two are not together I want you to handle my service But I do not think that is going to happen. Okey now it is all written down to my favorite funeral director. So let it be !!!

  2. Kathrine Fraser

    Hi Krystal. I love the way you have written this. Here in New Zealand there are lots of celebrants, including me, who offer funeral planning, not the make a payment now type of thing, but to talk with people about what they would like for their funeral as a way to assist their families. They tell their own stories and note their preferences. Ideally we meet the family too and open the discussion of death which can be difficult sometimes inside the family. Even better, we encourage the marking of significant birthdays where some of the stories get told and enjoyed while the person is alive – and they get to hear what their life has contributed to those they love. It’s magic! Arohanui. Kathrine, Life Celebrant

  3. Barbara Chalmers

    Dear millennial,

    Though we have yet to meet, I think I know you. You’re the mystery customer I designed my whole business around.
    Go browse.

  4. kate Hamilton

    What a very well thought out and from the heart letter. Thank you for sharing Krystal. I hope it will resonate.

  5. Philip Spicksley

    As the President of the Association of Independent Celebrants may I say this totally sums up what a service is all about in our modern day society. All Funeral Directors should be offering the services of something special and not the normal off the shelf service.

    All our members write unique life ceremonies and a member can be found not too far from you. Please visit our website for more details

  6. Dally Messenger III

    This letter is very sad on a celebrant site. The Funeral Director (misnamed) is a disposer of bodies generally part of big business – out to make money – and this directs all of their decisions.
    It is about ceremony. It is the province of the Celebrant or Clergyperson. This requirements are very valid but should be directed at a trained (not by a shonk) funeral celebrant. That celebrant entrusted with this responsible task must be paid a reasonable hourly rate (see website).

  7. Chris Roney

    This is why I became a certified Funeral Celebrant. Creating unique memorial services based solely on each person’s life, its significance and what their passing means is where the vocation of funeral service is heading. These are personally very rewarding to build and deliver. This letter is important and should be read by all funeral directors.

  8. April R. Simanoff, Certified Funeral Celebrant

    Just like so many of us, I have one foot in each world; in the sense that I just missed the tail end of the Baby Boomers (12/1966) and I do very much identify with the voice in this letter. The important things to remember, are that the spectrum is even broad for those of us who feel this letter resonates with us. With that said, I might wish for my family to roast me in affectionate eulogy, along with a celebrant, while someone from my peer group might want the splashes of religion with the more spiritual service that a celebrant offers. Perhaps my dear friend would love the ceremonial singing of the Ave Maria to accompany the celebrant-officiated service, and I might just want the funeral favors/sentimental giveaways. Of course, samples of my original poetry/prayers/quotes would be a hoped-for addition to my send-off too.

    I could really continue to lay out the differences in our preferences, but if we all agree to start with a blank template, and plan to let our open-minded funeral officiant (the celebrant) act as the vessel for the vision, my family will communicate (based on my ongoing discussions/evolving wishes with my immediate family).

    No matter how we scale the focus; the oral tributes should always bring the decedent back-to-life in the colorful and unique living image of who we are as we walked the earth.


  9. Dave Savage and Beverly Molander


    We hear you and we’re delivering to kind of detailed ideas and advice that will help you and the people you serve to create the memorial service that you describe.

    Take a look at our website for some of the content in our upcoming book Heartfelt Memorial Services.

    Send us an email so we can let you know when the PDF and e-reader editions will be ready to order.

    Dave Savage co-author
    Heartfelt memorial Services
    Book – Officiating – Training – Speaking
    Based in Atlanta – HeatfeltMemorialServices.com

  10. Katie Hepburn

    Hi Krystal,

    This was beautiful. I’m the owner of Life Celebrations – I provide alternative funeral services and specialize in Celebrations of Life for people who pass away. Please check out my site and if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

    Katie Hepburn