When someone you love dies, there is not much time for reflection or personal grieving processes before the funeral service time arrives. A funeral service can be deafeningly devastating, but it can also be a celebration of a life – for some goodbyes, it is somehow both. Loss is a difficult thing for us to process, but it is something that must be done when these moments arise. Organising all the details for a funeral service is a lot of work, and during the most difficult time in a person’s life it can feel impossible and cruel.
But alas, the details must be worked out. Funeral services have a lot of moving pieces to be figured out, but in the end, there are three details that are the elements of a funeral service that pull everything together, that form the essence of saying goodbye to someone you love. Everything moves fast when planning a funeral, but paying the utmost attention to these three aspects of the funeral is the easiest way to make it through the difficult process and to the service itself.
How the deceased is being sent off
It is a fact of life that we are all different. Dying does not make that fact simply disappear. Some of us want to go back to the earth. For these people, a coffin is the appropriate way to leave this life. And some of us prefer to be cremated, finding our place in death in cremation urns, or being scattered in our favourite place. Sometimes, the conversation about what the deceased wants to happen to their body after their death does not happen in time. Making the decision about what is to be done can feel impossible in the beginning, but remembering the person can help to put it into perspective. At the end of the day, you make the decision that you feel they would have preferred – even if they did not get to tell you their preference themselves.
The flowers, the food, and the music
The finishing touches of a funeral might seem small, but they often end up being some of the most important parts of the day. Having the right floral arrangements at the service and the wake is a way for people to feel comforted, connected. The same can be said for the music that plays during the funeral service itself. And if there is a wake after the funeral service, the food and refreshments that are served can provide more comfort and background for more stories to be told, for more memories to be shared, and for more people to be there for one another following the unfortunate event.
The location of the service (and the wake)
Saying goodbye to someone is difficult, but sometimes carefully planning the location of the funeral service can prove to be the most moving, memorable part of the day. Whether the service is a traditional one, held in a funeral home, or whether the deceased’s loved ones gather in one of their favourite places to say goodbye in their own way, getting the location of the service right has the power to control how the entire day carries out.