When talking about a person that has died most people focus on the good points, and difficult character traits are swept aside. However, when planning a funeral is it right to paint a wholly perfect picture of the deceased or is that doing them and the mourners a disservice. We consider why funerals don’t have to be mushy, and that instead they need to be authentic to the person that has died and their memory.
Talking About the Deceased
When planning a funeral service, Steve, and other officiants, will meet with family and friends to discuss the service and what should be included. If you are unsure what meeting with a funeral celebrant will be like you can find out more here. Steve will take the time to find out all that he can about the deceased. The more information that he has and the clearer picture that he can build, the better the funeral service that he can deliver.
As a relative of a person that has died it can be difficult to know how to describe them. Let’s face it nobody is perfect. Most people concentrate on the deceased’s positive qualities, and regale stories of times when they did something good, their sporting achievements, or their strong work ethic. However, a person is their whole character and sharing if they were grumpy before their morning coffee, or shouted at the TV when watching their team, or never put their socks in the wash, is also important.
Authentically Remembering the Deceased
With many years of experience Steve is highly skilled at speaking with bereaved families, and learning about the deceased, enabling him to craft funeral services that are truly reflective of induvial personalities. Steve will ask for stories, memories, and photographs, and he will ask questions enabling him to gain a rounded perspective of the person that has died.
A funeral service should be respectful of the deceased and help family and friends to reflect on their life, come to terms with the death, and process grief. Painting a saccharin image of a person that was not in reality like that does no one any favours and can leave grieving family and friends struggling to process their loss.
A well-balanced funeral service should be authentic. Picking out stories of great achievements and celebrating the deceased strongest qualities, but also remembering their personal quirks, pointing out that they were indeed human and not perfect. It is likely, that some of those qualities that were not always easy to live with, are fondly remembered by family and friends, and now greatly missed following their death.
Funerals Are About Remembering
Ultimately, a funeral is for family and friends of the deceased, it is an important part of the grieving process. How a funeral service is approached and executed can have a huge impact on how a person deals with their grief and their ability to move forward. As such the role of an officiant in gathering information and delivering a service for someone that they have never met is vital. A service that does not do the person’s memory full justice can leave mourners feeling bereft. Whereas, a service that accurately remembers their personality, the good and the bad, their individual quirks can help to cement their memory and most importantly help relatives and friends to come to terms with the death.
It may seem wrong, or as though you are speaking ill of the dead when regaling stories of how they annoyed you or were difficult to live with. However, that is the person that they were, the person that you are now grieving, and the person that you miss. It is important to share these traits with your funeral officiant, and that they share some of these stories as part of the funeral service. Focussing solely on how perfect the person was, is unrealistic, and doesn’t allow you to accurately remember them as they were.
All types of funeral services can avoid being mushy and authentically remember the life that is lost. However, Celebration of Life services lend themselves perfectly to this concept. It is just as likely, if not more likely, to bring tears to the eyes of mourners remembering funny stories, and bad habits, than an overly sweet service that pretends that the deceased was perfect.