Celebrate a Life Lived
“What a weight to have lifted off our shoulders to finally start taking care of our arrangements. This is all to keep our son, and each other, from having to make hard decisions when either of us passes away.”
- Bill, 64, and Carol, 63, R.
Whether you’re planning for yourself or a loved one, the funeral service is one of the most important elements of a person’s final arrangements. When planning a service, you can design every detail to help create a unique, meaningful tribute.
Regardless of whether you or your loved one have chosen burial or cremation, the funeral or memorial service fills an important role. It can:
- Recognize and celebrate a life with a memorable final tribute
- Give friends and family a time to remember your life and to say goodbye
- Bring family and friends together to honour a loved one
So what is a funeral? In general terms, a funeral is a gathering of family and friends after the death of a loved one that allows them the opportunity to support each other and pay tribute to the life of a loved one. It often consists of one or more of the following components:
Whether formal or informal, a funeral service prior to a burial often provides a sense of closure to family and friends. Your faith or culture may dictate some elements of a funeral service, but you can also personalize other elements of the service, such as food, flowers, music or special mementos. At a funeral service, a casket or urn is usually present, though you may choose to have the casket open or closed.
Visitation, Wake or Viewing
Held the night before or immediately prior to the funeral service, the visitation – also called a wake or a viewing – provides a way for friends and acquaintances to pay respects and offer condolences to your family. As with the funeral service, you may want to decide if you want an open or closed casket, should one be present.
Memorial or Tribute Service
At a memorial or tribute service, a casket or urn is usually not present. Similar to a funeral or visitation, a memorial service gives family and friends a time to come together to honour and celebrate the life of a loved one.
As its name implies, a graveside service may be held in the cemetery just prior to burial of a casket or urn, and it usually includes final remarks, prayers or memories. The service may occur after or, in some instances, may serve as an alternative for a funeral service.
There isn’t only one way to plan a funeral service. Dignity Memorial® providers believe that each funeral should be as unique and memorable as the life it represents. Consider these examples of unique services:
- Aunt Rosalind was the family’s favorite chef. She left instructions with her daughter to distribute copies of her most loved and most popular recipes to guests at her funeral so that her culinary contributions could live on at family dinners for generations to come.
- A lifelong recreational fisherman, Eddie had long made his wishes for his final arrangements known. Following a traditional chapel service at the funeral home, Eddie’s wish was for friends and family to continue the celebration of his life with an afternoon of fishing, dining and sharing stories at his family’s house on the lake where he spent his weekends and summers.
- For years, Denise was a regular volunteer at the women’s and children’s shelter in her community. When she passed, her family sought donations for the shelter in Denise’s honour and also arranged for a small group of the underprivileged students and women she counseled to speak about Denise’s impact on their lives at her funeral. Their words inspired others to continue Denise’s legacy.
When planning your own funeral service in advance, think about the way you would like to be remembered. These examples may spark an idea of how you can personalize your own funeral service. Perhaps you’d like a traditional funeral aligned with certain religious or ethnic customs. Or, a celebration focusing on great memories made with family and friends may be your preference. Maybe it’s a combination of both. The possibilities are endless when designing a final tribute to honour your—or your loved one’s—life.
No two of us are alike. A memorial service should reflect that. No matter what type of service or services you choose to include in your funeral plan, rest assured that you can create a service that is uniquely you.
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