When someone dies, you want to be able to create a funeral, memorial service or life celebration that captures the unique beauty and gifts of who that person was – one that celebrates the person’s life, and helps family and friends grieve, share memories and say good-bye.
As a celebrant and ordained minister, I have helped create and hold many funeral, memorial and life celebrations. Even if I do not know your loved one, I will spend time with family and friends, listen to stories shared, and help craft a ceremony that truly reflects your loved one’s spirit and life.
Funerals, memorial services, and life celebrations are highly personal events. They offer a chance to reflect on the deceased’s life, as well as their concerns with religion and spirituality, the family, the world, and their philosophies. Life celebrations, memorial services and funerals should offer the deceased’s loved ones a gentle avenue for entering the mourning process. Unfortunately, they are not always so satisfactory. When arrangements are left to the last minute, “cookie cutter” services are often the de facto result. With effective preplanning, you can be sure of a funeral or memorial service that best meets the emotional and spiritual needs of all considered. I will help you preplan this important step in the mourning process.
- Today’s services are often an eclectic mix of religion, spirituality, and celebration.
- Some distinguish between “funerals,” where the body is present, and “memorial services,” where the body is absent.
- The service or celebration should be an expression of the deceased and his or her loved ones, in total accord with their wishes. As such, it is completely up to you what form your event will take.
- “Life celebration” is a more contemporary term for a certain kind of memorial service, totally free of format, where “celebrating,” rather than “mourning,” is the active intent.
- In an end-of-life celebration, a dying person can be celebrated before death has occurred, a welcome option that can allow for a loving and soothing atmosphere in which to say goodbye.
- Where do you want to have the service? You can choose: at your home, in a place of nature, at a Church or Temple, a funeral home, it is up to you.
Traditional funerals are generally held in places of worship or funeral homes. Less traditional funerals, memorial services, and life celebrations can be held in places as diverse as a private home, hotel, public meeting space, mountaintop, beach, or park.
Funerals and memorial services may be religious or nonreligious, spiritual or nondenominational.
Memorial services and funerals can include elements of a traditional service, such as music, flowers, prayers, readings, eulogies, and sermons.
Memorial services can also be highly nontraditional, secular affairs, with informal sharing of stories, displays of photos or memorabilia, and requests for charitable donations rather than flowers.
You can hire a professional caterer, or family and friends can bring food.
You can share stories about the person’s life.
You can display important objects from the deceased’s life: personal photos, artwork, a handmade quilt, childhood memorabilia, awards received, a motorcycle, fishing poles, a musical instrument, or any other items of special meaning to the deceased or the survivors.
You can play music, perhaps the deceased’s favorite songs; a hired band could encourage singing or dancing.
The event may last an afternoon, a day, a weekend, a 3 day vigil, or even longer.