Most people don't know that funerals are an integral part of the grieving process. They actually provide structure and support to assist people through the initial mourning period. It also provides a time to honor and commemorate a life that has ended. Funerals may also help people reflect upon life's meaning within the context of each person's religious or secular values.
Funerals confirm the reality of death for the bereaved family, which is an important step in the healing process. It brings together a community of mourners so that they can share their emotions and give each other support during a time of loss.
It has been said that funerals do not need to be a matter of impressing but of expressing. Too many people have a preconceived notion of the word "funeral" but services are changing from what we may traditionally envision them. Today, many families are personalizing their loved one's service to become a celebration of life. Funeral services allow the families to face their pain and yet be surrounded by people who care about them.
Some additional choices for preplanning a funeral may include, but certainly not limited to, the following:
Memorial Gifts - Choose a charity or organization that can be a recipient of memorial gifts in honor of the deceased. The recipient should be one that the deceased or family members hold a special interest to.
In Lieu of Flower Donations - In the past, many families who recently lost a loved one through death may have preferred for people to donate money that they otherwise may have spent on purchasing flowers. Charitable organizations such as The American Cancer Society or Mothers Against Drunk Driving are two wonderful organizations that would benefit for such donations.
Favorite Flowers - Flowers can help express the love and sympathy of friends and beautify the location of the funeral ceremony service or gravesite. If you always loved decorating with flowers, this is a great time to be able to make that creative expression of love. You may want to check with the church on any limitations to flower arrangements for a funeral, should the ceremony be located in a place of worship.
Funeral Participants - Participants selected to assist in the funeral may act as pallbearers, speakers, music soloist, and ushers. Keep in mind that the family member or friend you may choose to participate may be grieving and it might be difficult for them to do the task.
Casket/Pallbearers - Pallbearers are individuals selected to carry the casket from the funeral ceremony service to the vehicle of transportation, generally a hearse. Persons selected to be pallbearers need to be physically capable of helping to lift the weight of the casket, which can be quite heavy. Six pallbearers are usually selected, although you can have as many as eight. Women can participate as a palllbearers or a combination of men and women.
Honorary Pallbearers - These are people to whom you offer your respectful appreciation by recognizing them as honorary pallbearers. This distinction may be given to special people who are not physically able to participate as active pallbearers.