Funerals are about understanding, farewelling, celebrating and supporting. They are steeped in history and ritual for a reason as throughout time, societies have found special and significant ways to say goodbye. We now understand that avoiding the inevitable doesn’t make death any easier.
We often hear ‘death is a part of life’ and indeed it is. Throughout our life’s journey, saying goodbye to people we love is part of our living experience. How we do this often reflects our culture, our family, our history and our experience.
In the multicultural world in which we live, we are often witness to the many and varied ways people say farewell, but for most cultural, ethnic, religious or social groups, four basic needs are present and acknowledged.
An important part of the purpose of a funeral is the understanding that life has ended and we must relinquish the physical body. Losing someone we love can often feel unreal ‘has this really happened?’ so we need to experience the physical farewell so that the reality of death is eventually accepted.
To work through our responses to this loss, the emotions and feelings that come with the death of someone we love, we need to understand that death itself has happened.
The physical goodbye is just the beginning. There is also a need to share our emotions and feelings, to pay tribute to the deceased person and the impact they had on those around them. If there is no funeral, those feelings and responses are often ‘put on hold’ with little opportunity for release.
Organising the burial or cremation addresses the physical needs, the funeral is part of the process of managing or coming to terms with our emotional ones.
Celebrating and Honouring
Traditionally the funeral was about meeting spiritual and religious needs and for some, those needs are still very important. However, as expectations and needs evolve, we are also seeing the funeral as a way to truly reflect on a life lived. That reflection may be relaxed and reflective and one which celebrates life and pays tribute to the individual personality.
Whether a funeral is large or small, formal or casual, private or shared
it is the coming together that gives us the opportunity to provide and experience support. A funeral gives an opportunity for family, friends, workmates and acquaintances to offer their support and comfort to those
Preparing a service, particularly the eulogy or reflection, is an important part of any funeral celebration. It is a chance to share the story of the person who has passed away and acknowledge their contribution to the lives of others.
For guidance when preparing a eulogy, we share these suggestions with you and how we are supporting you.