When we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral service fills several important needs.
Funerals have been with us since the beginning of human history because they help us move from life before death to life after death. Review the titles below to learn more about how funerals help begin the healing process.
A funeral service pays special tribute to the person’s life. Among its purposes, it helps us acknowledge the death, remember the life and activate support during this naturally difficult time.
The funeral service helps survivors face the reality of death, which is the first big step toward taking grief from the inside and allowing us to express it on the outside through mourning.
A funeral gives friends and relatives an opportunity to express the love and respect they feel for someone who was important to them. Often, just seeing how much others care can help a family adjust to their loss.
EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
For thousands of years, funerals have been 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.
Rituals are symbolic experiences that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events. For example, birthday parties honor the passing of another year in life. Weddings publicly affirm the private love shared by two people.
What do all rituals have in common?
Like all rituals, the funeral ritual, is a public, traditional and symbolic means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone loved.
While your grief journey will be unique, all mourners have certain needs that must be met if they are to heal. Though these needs are numbered one through six below, they are not intended to serve as orderly steps on the road to healing. Instead, you will find yourself bouncing back and forth from one to the other, and maybe even working on one or two simultaneously.
Acknowledge the reality of the death
Move toward the pain of the loss
Continue the relationship through memories
Develop a new self-identity
Search for Meaning
Continue to receive support from others
There are a number of misconceived thoughts about funerals. Here are some that should be considered and addressed when planning a funeral.
This compassionate, friendly workbook affirms the importance of the personalized funeral ritual and helps families create a ceremony that will be both healing and meaningful for years to come. Designed to complement the role of the clergy, celebrant and funeral director in the funeral planning process, A Guide for Families walks readers through the many decisions they will make at the time of a death.