Funerals are a traditional element of death, however, the significance of the funeral service for the living is increasingly being overlooked. A funeral service should of course be planned and delivered with dignity, but the importance of the service for helping those in mourning to grieve and heal should be considered too.
In this article we will consider why funerals are an important part of the healing process.
Funeral Service To Help Process Grief
Whether religious or not, a funeral is a traditional part of the rituals that surround death in nearly all cultures. Recently, there has been an uptick in promotion of direct cremation, that we considered in a recent article. However, while offering a budget friendly solution to the formalities of death, there is little consideration to the purpose of a funeral, which is largely for family and friends who are grieving, because funerals provide the following benefits as part of the grieving process, they:
- Provide a tangible focus during a difficult time
- Celebrate the life of the deceased
- Allow for expression of grief and sorrow – British stiff upper lip – breaks down barriers
- Provide a sense of closure
- Support system and hope
A Funeral Is A Focus
Following the death of a loved one there is equally a lot to do, and often not too much free time. Dealing with the formalities of a death and organising a funeral service can be a time-consuming process, but one that can provide a focus in the early stages.
Everyone is individual, and some people may prefer time alone with their thoughts, but for others the natural family togetherness alongside the organising a funeral service, can provide a focus which in turn helps prevent overwhelming sadness and depression taking a hold.
Celebrating and Remembering the Person Who Has Died
Whether religious or not the process of planning the content of the funeral ceremony with the officiant is a cathartic part of the healing process. A celebrant such as Steve will encourage family and friends to share memories that will be used as part of the celebration of a loved one’s life. Talking about the music and discussing the things about a loved one that are special also provides an opportunity to reflect on their life. Steve can also create a photographic and video tribute, for which the process of looking for photographs and other media will invoke and celebrate more shared memories. You can find out more about Steve and his approach to officiating at funerals here.
Expression of Grief
The British stiff upper lip is very much still alive and kicking in the UK, and public expressions of grief and sadness can sometimes be discouraged. However, the exception to this rule is at a funeral service. A collective coming together to share memories of the deceased and celebrate their life, along with shared tears and grief is part of the healing process. A funeral ceremony enables the collective expression of feelings in a secure environment. Each person’s grief will be different, their relationship and memories will be different, but collectively the individual feelings invoke a group element of support that is an important part of the grieving process.
Funerals Provide Closure
Closure, or indeed a sense of understanding, peace, and acceptance of the death is not a ‘leaving behind,’ but rather ‘a carrying with.’ This does not mean that after the funeral there is no more grief, and that life carries on as before. However, for many people the ceremony provides finality, it allows the life of the person that has died to be celebrated and for the people grieving to start the next chapter of their lives.
Support and Hope for the Future
Grief can be a lonely experience. A funeral ceremony is the coming together of people that were touched by the life of the deceased. This creates a sense of community and support, as well as invoking hope for the future. New bonds are formed, and plans made as family, friends, and acquaintances, who come together and forge a future without the person who has died. Building new relationships, participating in new experiences, and creating the next chapter of life is an important step in the healing process.
Funeral Services As Part of the Healing Process
The process of organising and attending a funeral service is an important part of the grieving process and shouldn’t then, be entirely overlooked. A funeral will celebrate the life and achievements of a loved one, while helping to support the ongoing life of those that are grieving. Using the services of a funeral Celebrant such as Steve, who you can contact directly, will play a huge part in the healing process.