By Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director
Cremation Association of North AmericaOne morning, my dad called me at work, which was a first. I was immediately concerned that bad news was coming, however it turned out my parents had made a resolution to “get their affairs in order.” They were starting the process of prearranging their funerals and updating all of their end-of-life documents. My dad’s plan was to have everything in order before I visited in a couple of months and was calling to confirm the funeral home he had chosen. The funeral home my parents chose is well respected in the community and displays the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) logo on its website and door. The crematory operators are all certified, which means they had gone to extra lengths in professional education. So I asked the President of the funeral home why he sought this designation for his business and staff, and what it means to the community he serves. He said, “Our affiliation is important to me and to the families we serve, because it demonstrates our commitment to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.” When I visited my parents, we went to the bank and spent time reviewing documents – living wills and worksheets from the funeral home. Not surprisingly, my mom had planned a lovely funeral for herself at which her many friends from church and her social clubs, former students and others could gather together. My mom is a social creature known for her party planning. My dad’s worksheet simply stated, “Just cremate me.” He explained that he didn’t want us to be sad or mourn him. He didn’t want a big deal made about his passing. He would be in heaven and we would see him again when it was our time.