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Why have a funeral

When we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral or memorial service fills several important needs.

Pay Tribute

A service pays special tribute to the person’s life, helping us acknowledge the death and remember the life during this naturally difficult time.

Begin Mourning

The service helps survivors face the reality of death, a first step toward taking grief from the inside and allowing us to express it on the outside through mourning.

Receive Support

A funeral allows friends and family to express the love and respect they feel. Often, just seeing how much others care can help a family adjust to their loss.

Express Feelings

Funerals are a means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings. It helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died and allows us to say goodbye.

Father and daughter next to casket at viewing

The hierarchy of the healing process

  • Reality

    Truly acknowledging the reality that someone in our life has died

  • Recall

    Remembering and sharing our unique memories with others

  • Support

    Bringing together people in an atmosphere of love and support

    Come Together
  • Expression

    Expressing our inner thoughts and feelings about life and death

  • Meaning

    Marking the significance of the life that was lived

  • Transcendence

    Helping embrace the wonder of life and death


Funeral misconceptions

Some misconceived thoughts about funerals should be considered and addressed when planning a funeral.

Funerals make us too sad.

When someone we love dies, we need to be sad. Funerals provide us with a safe place in which to embrace our pain.

Funerals are inconvenient.

Taking a few hours out of your week to demonstrate your love for the person who died and your support for survivors is not an inconvenience, but a privilege.

Funerals and cremation are mutually exclusive.

A funeral (with or without the body present) may be held prior to cremation. Embalmed bodies are often cremated.

Funerals are only for religious people.

Non-religious ceremonies are also appropriate and offer healing as you mourn together and share in the love, relationships, memories, and hope.

Funeral should reflect what the loved one wanted.

Maybe not … While the wishes of the person who died should be respected, funerals are primarily for the benefit of the living.

Funerals are only for adults.

Anyone old enough to love is old enough to mourn. Children, too, should have the right and the privilege to attend funerals.

The visits, thoughts and prayers meant so much to us and helped us make such a hard and difficult time much more bearable. It will never be forgotten.

A family from North Carolina