Are Funerals necessary and the importance of pre-planning? What has the tradition been and a look into the future of systems and pre-planning our own funeral and estate planning ahead of time.
I explored many articles. Some may ask why do we need to have funerals at all? I came across an article written by Dr. Alan Wolfelt wrote an article that explains why people need to have and attend a funeral. He is a grief counselor, author and an educator who has done research on this very subject. There are few ritual moments in our life such as birth, education, marriage and death which is the last one. I quote him as saying “the funeral ritual is a public traditional and symbolic means of expression our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone we cared for or loved. The funeral is rich in history and life with symbolism. The funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture’s values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faiths and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.“
A funeral should meet six purposes, and is often meaningful and healing. Death is a reality that strikes us all. Choose elements that reflect the life and personality of the one who died. Touch on 5 senses to incorporate in your service. Think about music, readings, mementos, videos, color, flowers, menu and location. Honor the deceased person’s wishes whenever possible. Example, the person was a golfer and a memorial service was held at the 18th hole of his favorite golf course. The reception after a funeral service can hold all these elements. Sorrow and pain is raw and real for people and their presence starts the healing process allowing the bereaved to comprehend the reality of death.
A healing ceremony brings a sense of hope for friends and family. A funeral service helps the people feel complete, have a release of feelings and to say goodbye. Time the family spends in planning details for a ceremony for who that person was, reveals the beauty of life during their lifetime on earth in love and sadness. Your loved one may have made some special requests and adding your touches helps you heal as well. Don’t force your own time table for healing on someone else as grieving the loss of a loved one is different for everyone, and can be one of the darkest times in a person’s life. Use caution with words and acknowledge their grief and be respectful of the deceased.
When children are involved in the families it is advised to talk with the children about death. Often we don’t like talking about death because of the pain and sadness it causes us to feel. However, children grieve anyway, so it is better to help them grief in a natural feeling when someone we loved has died. Children need adults to confirm that it’s alright to be sad and to cry. They also need to know the hurt they feel will change over time and they will feel better.
Often in the midst of despair and anguish, a healing ceremony brings a sense of hope for friends and family. If a funeral service doesn't happen then people are left feeling incomplete. Time the family spends in planning details and respecting the lost loved one's legacy brings a sense of peace to those grieving.
References: Dr. Alan Wolfelt
Linda Styart - When I die Please do Something