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How Grief Affects Decision Making
Shortly after losing a loved one isn’t the best time to make funeral arrangements. Why? Because grief affects decision making – here’s how.
How Grief Affects Decision Making

Have you made advanced funeral arrangements? Most people haven’t, but there are a few good reasons why everyone should. One of the most important reasons is because grief will very likely affect the decisions your loved ones make after your death. And without a will or advanced funeral arrangements, in the moment they may not make the decisions you would have made. 

The fact of the matter is, grief affects us all differently, but it tends to negatively impact decision making so shortly after a death is not the time to be making funeral arrangements. If you’re still on the fence about making advanced funeral arrangements, you may want to carefully consider the key ways that grief affects decision making. 

Grief Causes Confusion

Grief has a way of clouding up the brain and causing confusion. This has been dubbed “grief brain.” The reaction is particularly understandable for someone who’s just lost a close loved one and their day-to-day life has changed. You’re trying to wrap your head around everything, but it can take time to gain clarity because you’re overloaded with emotions and changes. Making major decisions isn’t a good idea until you’ve adjusted to the new reality and accepted it. 

Disconnection in the Brain Can Affect Your Memory

Confusion can become straight memory loss when you’re experiencing grief. When you grieve you’re learning how to live in a new way. You have to learn to function without a loved one in your life. Grief actually changes the way your brain works and causes disruptions in neural connections in order to make this happen.  

While your brain is adapting to the new normal, you may become forgetful because grief has ties to memory. You could end up paying a funeral vendor twice and not realize it. Or you may forget to order additional death certificates to settle the estate. 

Be very mindful of memory lapses when you are grieving. It’s a good idea to document everything and have someone else help manage financial matters until you’ve adjusted. 

Grief Leads to Bad Financial Decisions

Big financial decisions are something that many therapists suggest people avoid making while they are grieving. The average funeral cost ranges from $6,970 to $7,848, which certainly qualifies it as a big financial decision. 

The biggest issue with grief is that people are letting their emotions rule their judgment. Families tend to overspend on funeral services because they want to go all out honoring their loved one. They are thinking with their hearts, not their heads. It’s just one more reason why planning ahead can help you save on funeral expenses

When it comes to money, it’s usually best to focus on facts and figures rather than letting emotions decide. You are likely to make different decisions depending on your emotional state, and that can lead to regret once the decision has been made. 

Grief Focuses You on the Moment, Not the Long-Term

Part of the reason people tend to regret decisions that were made while grieving is because they’re made in the moment. Grief puts your focus on what’s happening at that time. You aren’t thinking about the consequences of decisions down the road. It’s what’s known as a knee-jerk reaction. 

Funeral arrangements are permanent decisions that can also have a lasting financial impact. For example, shortly after a loved ones death you may decide you want a huge grave marker that gives you lots of space for engraving. But after visiting the gravesite over time you may realize that you didn’t have to spend so much on an oversized marker. It may not have even been the marker your loved one would have picked for themselves. 

Body disposition and funeral services are final decisions. You don’t get to redo them or change your mind. That alone is reason enough to give funeral arrangements serious thought in life and arrange services in advance before death.

Grief counselors suggest waiting at least six months to make major decisions after the death of a loved one. In terms of making funeral arrangements that timeline simply isn’t possible. That’s why it’s so important for people to make advanced funeral arrangements. It relieves loved ones of a huge burden while they are grieving and not in the best mental state to make big decisions.

If you want to have affordable, no-stress direct cremation, Direct Cremate can help. We’re available 24/7 to discuss the direct cremation process and help families make arrangements.

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