Here are four reasons funerals matter:
1. Acknowledgment – Funerals are a way to acknowledge that a life has been lived. They give us the opportunity to share memories verbally, in writing and visually. Through eulogies, personalized funeral stationery and tribute videos, families have an opportunity to share with others the special qualities that made their loved ones life unique.
2. Honor and Remember – Attending a funeral, the bereaved can honor and remember the deceased in a special way. Every person is different and their funeral should be as well. Personalized funerals start with highlighting these individual qualities. If the family member who passed away was in the military or loved animals or had a passion for computers, these qualities should be represented. Creating a personal theme for the funeral that speaks of these specific characteristics in coordinated prayer cards, register books and memorial programs, for example, provides a visual reminder and shows the admiration of the deceased for those extraordinary qualities.
3. Initiate Grieving Process – Funerals serve to initiate the grief process. The bereaved are encouraged to face the pain of loss and express themselves in this safe setting. Facing their grief encourages the acceptance of the loss, and allows the bereaved to face the finality of the death of their loved one.
While the bereaved may be overwhelmed by the realization that it is the end of their loved ones life, many find comfort in elements of the funeral such as the lighting of a funeral candle or by receiving some other type of funeral keepsake, such as a remembrance ornament.
A funeral candle with the deceased’s name and picture can be used during the funeral and then taken home as a remembrance. These keepsakes can provide comfort during the grieving process and serve as a reminder that life does go on.
4. Support – A funeral serves as a place where family and friends can offer emotional and physical support to each other. During and after the service, people who were important in the deceased’s life come together to celebrate, cry, hug, comfort and talk about their loved one and their feelings. Mourners are comforted by this compassion and support by simply knowing they are not alone in their grief.
Whether a family chooses to celebrate the life of their loved one with a traditional or a contemporary ceremony, a funeral provides a profound experience that ultimately assists them with the grieving process.