Has your loved one told you they don't want a funeral?
The reasons for not desiring a funeral vary, but often include:
- they don't connect to the traditional or religious way of doing things
- concerns about being a financial burden
- not wanting to be the center of attention, even in death
But what they don't realize is how valuable a meaningful funeral is to their family. Although a funeral honours and remembers the life of the deceased, it is actually beneficial for the living.
A funeral gives the living an opportunity for a purposeful and meaningful experience, providing a focal point to remember all that their loved one meant to them.
It often brings a sense of completeness, like the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.
Through our lives we acknowledge the birth of a baby, our subsequent birthdays, graduations, marriages, retirements and other milestones, and families whose loved one has requested no funeral often tell me that they continue to feel like something was left undone or unfinished for years to come.
So what do you do if your loved one has requested no funeral?
Have a conversation with them if it is still possible. There are many ways to make a funeral very meaningful without being traditional, religious, costly or uncomfortable.
Here are some simple suggestions that I have found that work for many of the families I work with:
1. Having a small graveside ceremony with just close family and friends, meeting at a favourite restaurant afterwards.
2. Finding a cozy location to have a casual gathering where the focus is celebrating the life of your loved one and who they were. There does not even have to be an urn or a casket of any kind present.
3. Doing something as a family in your loved one's honour. For instance, going to one last hockey game together, volunteering at a local charity that was meaningful to your loved one, or even going on a family trip together. Then following it up with a gathering in someone's home or a local hall or pub.
The options are endless. And as your Funeral Celebrant, I will create a ceremony that is fitting for what your loved one wants and the event you wish to have.
The key is to do something meaningful, and to avoid doing nothing.
Your loved one lived. They were loved. And they are worth honouring.
Take time to remember.