Over the years I have become acutely aware of how important it is to have ritual as a mainstay within our grief process. Ritual that is meaningful to those grieving is the important key.
I have attended many funerals and cremations over the years and noticed a few things. Those ceremonies / rituals that were offered in a packaged way that didn’t truly reflect the unique needs and the wants of the grieving family oftentimes felt flat and lifeless. The family and friends looked like they were simply going through the motions of the ceremony and were not truly engaged in the ritual. The results were often delayed or suppressed grief, a felt feeling of dissatisfaction, mixed with regrets and wishes that it could have been different.
Yet a time of life when most of us have little experience, practice, or knowledge and the emotions are running full on this is often the result. Many of us don’t know what our options are, how much creative freedom we actually have, and that we can tailor-make of end of life ceremony to suit our family needs and values. We don’t know that we can create an event that honors our actual relationship with our deceased loved one.
So here are a few things you need to know when it comes to planning a funeral or cremation services for a loved one;
- Your religious and spiritual beliefs matter.
- Your family customs and ways of relating matter.
- Your choice of location matters.
- Your choice of timing matters.
- Your family’s ways of celebrating matter.
- Your sense of humor matters.
- Your voice and your values matter.
It is your final good-bye to your loved one and you have total and final say in how it goes, when it goes and where it goes. A great funeral director will know this, remind you of these points, and ensure you get the services you want where you want them and when you want them.
Planning your end of life ceremonies well in advance and in alignment with your family’s values and beliefs will deeply support your healthy expression of grief that is a natural, human response to the loss of dear loved one.