Doug McCleary: Celebrant, Officiant, Musician

Why Have a Funeral or Memorial?

With the rise of "direct cremation" services, it has become much more common to not have services in the wake of losing a loved one.  Financial and cultural considerations have created an environment where, often, we just want things "taken care of" and then to get on with our lives.  We wrestle with the costs surrounding death and want to try to save money or time where we can.  What we don't realize is how important a funeral or memorial service is to the "work" of getting on with our lives.

A funeral or memorial service provides a time of closure and a "touch point" of sorts, from which we can move forward to grieve and eventually to heal.  It is like the clear hinge point between the past and our future.  A well planned service honoring the life and memory of our loved one allows us to reflect and to gather with others who love us and want to be there for us as we wrestle with all the confusion and uncertainty of loss.  Many times, when death is followed by nothing more than "getting on with life," we discover that "getting on" is much more difficult than we had imagined.  Without the funeral or memorial to help us move forward, we may find it more difficult to let go and move forward.

A funeral or memorial doesn't have to be big, overblown, religious or depressing.  A funeral or memorial service can be as simple or as complicated as you desire.  A funeral or memorial can be held at a funeral home or church, or at a home, a park, fraternal hall, or any number of places.  A "healing" funeral service (I put that word in quotation marks to stress that there are such things as funerals that don't really help heal) allows us to remember and celebrate the life of our loved one--through eulogy, stories, sharing, video, music, artifacts and ritual.  A "healing" funeral allows us to grieve with friends and family...to publicly express our sorrow and pain while being in the center of a loving group of family and friends.

A celebrant, leading a funeral or memorial, can put voice and action to the thoughts and ideas you have, but cannot express for yourself.  A celebrant provides time to remember, to reflect and to plan...all within an atmosphere of love, compassion and understanding.

Talk with your Funeral Director or Family Services Counselor about funeral service options...and about the healing value of a funeral.  And, be sure to request they call me to assist you with your planning and preparation.