Planning the Funeral Service
How Families are Choosing to Say Goodbye to Their Loved Ones Today
A final farewell experience offers family, friends, and the community a powerful opportunity to both celebrate and mourn the life of a loved one and community member. By conducting some type of service, ceremony, or tribute, the six basic needs of celebration and mourning are realized and healing can begin.
The importance of a celebration to the living:
- To acknowledge the reality of death.
- To acknowledge the emotions associated with the death.
- To acknowledge the relationship with the person who has died has shifted from physical presence to memory.
- To acknowledge changes in personal self-identity.
- To ponder and search for new meaning in life.
- To receive the loving support of remaining family and friends.
Selecting burial or cremation for a loved one is a personal choice, which in no way limits the service, ceremony or tribute choices available. The following choices represent powerful honoring and healing experiences that will begin to help family, friends, and community move from grieving to remembrance.
Each of these choices could be conducted at a funeral home, the cemetery, the crematory or other location. The services can range from small family gatherings to larger ones that could accommodate friends and the community.
It is important to note that there is no set template for each of these farewells. Your family has control over what kind of service you want, and which of the many choices you have for the way you want to say goodbye, and all the services are available for cremation, as well as for burial.
Personal Family Goodbye
A “Personal Family Goodbye” is generally attended by the immediate family and affords them an opportunity to come together to reflect, show support, and remember the very special life of their loved one. It could be spiritual or religious themed, or personally designed by the family. A casket or personal urn can be an integral part of this final farewell presentation.
Friends and Family Goodbye
A “Friends and Family Goodbye” is an opportunity for family and friends to come together to reflect, show support, and remember the very special life of their loved one. It includes the choices offered in the “Personal Family Goodbye,” and because this service includes guests, families have an opportunity for remembrances such as guest books, handouts, and prayer cards, music, pictorial montages, memorial videos and web tributes. Some families also choose to have cemetery burial or cremation services or scattering. A casket or personal urn can also be an integral part of a “Friends and Family Goodbye.”
A larger, more inclusive ceremony is the “Community Gathering.” This will encompass all the choices of the previous services but extends the guests to a larger group. The services can include choices such as a choir or soloist, special services designed for the individual, such as a military salute, dove release, for example, and a Rite of Committal. Most often, these ceremonies also include a cemetery or cremation garden service, which would include the transportation of the loved to the place of committal. These services are many times highly individualized and are planned by the family in conjunction with their funeral director.