This journey marks a new beginning; now is the most important time to come together and recount the fond memories that tell the story of your loved one. A variety of choices are available to create a loving memorial, bringing together family and friends for a final goodbye. Meaningful ceremonies with personalized memorials can be as unique as the loved one being remembered.
When choosing cremation, the ceremony is a way to inform the community of a loved one’s passing, tell their story and celebrate their life. A ceremony is most meaningful when it reflects your loved one’s relationships, interests, and the moments you shared. Memorializing your loved one when choosing cremation may include one or any combination of the following choices.
Friends and family gather for a tribute prior to cremation, often with the decedent present, which activates support and allows family and friends to say goodbye.
This gathering of friends and family following cremation often features the memorial urn as the ceremony’s centerpiece and allows family and friends to recall memories and support one another.
A small gathering and informal family farewell takes place in a private setting and offers the chance to say goodbye, allowing family and friends to recall memories and support one another.
Services often include the use of music, symbols, words and actions that reflect the life of the loved one and activate support among family and friends. Whether simple or elaborate, traditional, contemporary or religious, choose elements that best reflect the passion and life story of the one whom you are honoring.
A direct cremation is when there is no funeral service or memorial service, but instead simply final disposition of the body by the funeral home or memorial society.
A word from Dr. Alan Wolfelt
If you are considering direct cremation, I plead with you to reconsider. Honoring the life and death of the person who died with some sort of ceremony—no matter how brief, how small or how informal—will help your family acknowledge the reality of the death and begin to heal. When no ceremony is held, it is as if the life and death of the person who died had no significance to anyone. Also keep in mind that you may still hold a committal service at the gravesite or crematory should you choose direct cremation.
Think carefully about the many options available to you and your family. Slow down and plan. It is through planning that a meaningful experience of a funeral ceremony is created. And do remember that funeral directors, clergy, celebrants and close friends who have done these things before can all be valuable resources to you. You are not alone!