Vanessa Shannon – Funeral Preplanner

As a Funeral Preplanner, I meet with diverse families every week who realize the significance of preplanning. My job as a funeral and insurance professional is to educate on all the options available.

Based on the food for thought that families provide me, there are some very important p[points I wish to share with all of you.

Funerals are about us, but they are truly for those we leave behind  – people who knew us and shared experiences with us; people who really loved us. It is easy to say “no one will come to my funeral” or “ I don’t want a big fuss”.  When prearranging funerals, people are very humble. What you think is a “big deal” may be very different from your family’s perception.

We often underestimate how many people will come and pay their respects to us, and more importantly, our family.  When my Grandfather passed away, there were people at the Visitation he had not seen in decades. They came to honor his memory and support our family.

Logistically, it is beneficial to have more than one opportunity to allow people to pay their respects. Some work during the day and cannot make an afternoon visitation.  While other, like seniors or those with young children, may not wish to go out in the evening.  Nowadays, families are more dispersed with loved ones living all over the world.  We need to allow time for them to arrive, but if this is not a possibility, we can now “webcast” the service in some places.

It is important to do what is right for your family. Every family has different needs.  Some wish for more visitation, some less; some religious services, some non-religious “Celebrations of Life”. People deal with death in their own personal way. I find much closure in the Viewing process while others wish to have their body cremated first and have an urn present instead of their body in a casket.  Some desire a less formal celebration, for instance in a hall or restaurant.

A Funeral Director will help organize for the family so they don’t have to worry about many details related to the funeral arrangements. Why take on the job of trying to manage final services and details when you don’t have to? It is already a very stressful time.

I always tell families to begin the discussion!  It is easier to preplan wishes than to wait until the time of a death, leaving uncertainty and possible arguments.  I have met with many individuals who commented that when a friend of loved one passed away, they did not believe the person was really gone because there was no form of service or celebration. Many of us find it difficult to cope in these circumstances and have to find healing in a Grief Recovery Program.

A funeral is a rite of passage, like a birth. If someone has lived 90 years, can we not spare even one half-hour to honor that remarkable lifetime?  In my case, I’m having an Irish Wake. I want my family to smile and share funny stories!

Licensed Funeral Preplanner Vanessa Shannon has met with hundreds of individuals in the community to discuss funeral planning. She meets with families in the comfort of their own home or at her office, Robinson & Associates Insurance, 4129 Portage Rd., Niagara Falls, ON. Vanessa is also a Registered Insurance Broker in Ontario, assisting clients with home, automobile, commercial, travel, life and health insurance policies. Contact her for a complimentary review an quote (905) 358-0307  or

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