When it comes to funerals, preparation is key

When it comes to doing the right thing, even I make mistakes. This week, I accompanied my daughter to a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral was a beautiful tribute to her friend’s dad and extremely memorable, in more ways than one.

The two of us did plan; what to wear, where to make a donation, and what time we should leave. Since we live in the Washington, DC metro area and rush hour traffic is terrible, my daughter suggested we leave at 7 AM and take the metro; it seemed like a good idea as there’s a metro stop right at Arlington National Cemetery.

We arrived promptly and right at the entrance. We asked the security guard how to get to the chapel and he was shocked we were on foot. He explained the chapel was a two-mile walk, all uphill. He pointed to a line of cars behind a hearse and suggested we ask someone for a ride.

A couple was happy to offer us a ride. After driving in the processional, we spotted an Army bus by the chapel and my daughter assumed they would shuttle us to the burial site. But that wasn’t the case; the priest directed us to our cars after the service and told us to line up for the drive to the burial site.

Luckily, we located our good Samaritans, and they willingly offered us another ride. The procession wound up and down the hills and we quickly realized we would never have been able to get to either the service or the burial without a car. What had we been thinking?

Lesson learned; carefully check all funeral information and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle StoreClick here to order.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons / katmere

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