Death, dying, bereavement, passing away – whatever you call it can leave a lot for loved ones to deal with.

All of a sudden, time stops on one hand and emotions run high on the other!

There will be a significant amount of money to spend, difficult decisions to make, multiple stakeholders to consider and definitely detailed things to do that are very different from everyday occurrences.

Making your funeral wishes known allows your next of kin, children, relatives and associates focus on celebrating your life instead of being saddled with the burden and intricacies of funeral arrangements

1. Face Reality.

The law of nature assures us that no one can physically live forever. Discussing this prepares you and yours mentally and emotionally.

Some people will be high achievers whilst some will barely make ends meet. Some will be pleasant and kind whilst others erratic and wicked. The only thing guaranteed is that all born will pass on, hopefully at an old age.


2. Immediate Questions Have Your Answers.

Who should be informed first? Which location (s) will a condolence register be set up? What actions should happen immediately? If in a different country, will there be repatriation? How soon should the funeral be held?


3. Place and Type of Ceremonies.

Should it be a burial or cremation? How will the ashes be shared or disposed?

Is there going to be a religious service?

Where will the internment be held?

So many people want to be buried in their hometown. Often their children don’t even know how to get there…..


4. Not a Death Sentence.

Discussing your father’s preferences today does not mean he will die tomorrow or a few years after. It just means you will have a chance of clearer thinking at a time where all is normally confusing.


5. Cultural / Religious Expectations.

There are over 200 unique tribes across Nigeria, each with their own peculiar practices customs. With so many in diaspora, most are unfamiliar with these scenarios.

Many of which ONLY manifest in detail during funerals. So many people are shocked by what their kinsmen and family expect of them when there is a funeral to plan.


6. Cost Effective.

Planning is always cheaper than ad-hoc preparations.

For example a big applause goes out to people who purchase their vaults / cemetery spaces / land where they would be buried in their lifetime. Just make sure this is documented and accessible when needed.

Nobody is caught unawares as regards finances because this has been discussed. If you have set money aside, let loved ones know how to access it and put it to good use. If not, they can start mentally processing the kind of budget that will be required and how to source funds.


7. Reduces External Interference.

It’s amazing how many people believe they have a say in the planning of someone else’s funeral. In some cases relatives that the immediate family have never met suddenly come to be in charge because it’s their ‘right’, in the process compounding the grief.

Contentions are quickly extinguished when your immediate family can show that A, B, C were your the wishes.


8. Comforts The Bereaved.

Most funerals are to honour the life of the deceased. The children find immense comfort, direction and closure in knowing they are carrying out your wishes.

It really does give them peace of mind knowing that they are what you would have wanted.



9. Affirms Faith

Making your wishes known does not go against any faith. It actually leaves a gift of clarity instead of confusion.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22 NKJV



These are a summary from my professional and personal experiences.

My father often mentioned his preferences in conversations we had. When he died suddenly with my brother, remembering these conversations helped me navigate a very difficult time. My maternal grandmother extensively explained her funeral wishes to her children and grandchildren. She also documented them – what, where, when and even the hymns she preferred. She purchased her place of rest in her life time and left some money for the core expenses. Indeed her funeral was a stress-free celebration of life.

Start the conversation today…..

In memory of my father, Olatunji Adedeji Okusanya and brother. Olatunji Abimbola Okusanya who passed away in a plane crash on October 3rd 2013, enroute to conducting a funeral.



Bolanle Okusanya Feyita with LTJ Funerals International and the Olatunji Okusanya Memorial Foundation 2022