What’s Next? Episode 23:

How to Prepare Your Family for Your Memorial Service (And Theirs)

What’s Next? Episode 23: How to Prepare Your Family for Your Memorial Service (And Theirs) with Dean Lambert

Many people struggle with how to talk with their loved ones about planning for funerals or memorial services. It can be hard to know how to start the conversation or might just feel too morbid to talk about. However, talking about how someone wishes to be remembered is not inherently morbid. It may feel like you’re talking about death, but really you’re talking about life and how you or your loved ones want to be remembered.  In today’s episode, host Liz Smith is joined in conversation with Dean Lambert, who has worked with funeral professionals for nearly 30 years helping them connect and serve families facing one of the most challenging moments of their lives.

There is a lot involved with planning for a memorial service. It is much easier to approach when you’re not also trying to cope with a death and the time constraints around what to do with the body. A memorial service should honor not only the wishes of the deceased, but also be a meaningful celebration for the living. Depending on your or your loved one’s religious beliefs and preferences, there are many different options for memorial services, burial, and cremation. Talk with your family members about their lives before death is even on the table, that way you will be better prepared for knowing how they might like to be remembered and celebrated.

It’s important to be able to talk about death with your loved ones, as it is a natural part of life. Anything that can be done in advance to prepare such as conveying your wishes or setting money aside for a funeral, will be a big help to lessen the financial strain and emotional stress for surviving family members.


  • “Whatever your beliefs are about what you want for yourself, you should honor those to the best of your ability. However, if you love your family, and you love your friends, doing in advance allows you to gain their input. And in that way, they can celebrate you and go off into their journeys and into their lives in a way that was meaningful to them as well.” (24:18-24:44 | Dean)
  • “It’s important for us to realize it is a part of life, and we need to pay attention to the way people are remembered.” (29:12-29:17 | Dean)
  • “You’re not thinking about death. You’re thinking about how you want to be remembered, and you’re thinking about how you want your life carried forward.” (29:43-29:50 | Dean)
  • “I encourage people to be curious about your family, your parents, your grandparents, and just ask questions about it. They love talking about that history.” (34:11-34:18 | Dean)
  • “The grieving process is an extremely individual personal thing for everybody. And for some, that means not to grieve.” (41:36-41:42 | Dean)
  • “If you don’t have to be surprised by a death and then have to make decisions afterwards, if there’s a way to make it any easier, you should.” (42:44-42:53 | Dean)


The Love Always Project: https://www.lovealwaysproject.org/

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