The days following a loved one’s passing are often shockingly difficult. Not only are you dealing with the emotional devastation that comes with the loss, but there are dozens of details that must be attended to in the aftermath of a death. Notifying family and friends, taking care of financial details, making arrangements for children, other loved ones, or pets if necessary. And of course, planning for the loved one’s final arrangements.
In some cases the loved one has already made plans for their final arrangements, but in many cases after a loved one’s passing, family members must decide how to handle the funeral, disposition (burial, cremation, entombment, etc.), and final resting place based on family input and any last wishes made known by the loved one. Things like:
- Are there any prearrangement plans left by the loved one?
- Is a cremation or a burial right for my loved one?
- Is there a burial plot or cremation memorialization option already purchased? If not, do we need or want one?
- What kind of service do we want to have for our loved one?
The emotional nature of a death coupled with the number of decisions and planning that inevitably occur after a death often leave families confused and weary. Many families waiver on the importance of having a service, especially if their loved one wanted to be cremated.
However, the power of a service reverberates through family and friends and can offer lasting positive benefits. Here are 5 reasons families are having services for their loved ones whether there is a cremation or not.
1. Support from others
In a time of grieving, it’s important for the family to get support from their community. A service creates a place and time for others to show they care about the well being of those who are hurting. Family and friends can gather to rekindle connections, share memories, and show love to those who need it. Showing support to those in your community who have lost a loved one at a service strengthens connections and demonstrates to those mourning that they are not in this difficult journey alone.
2. A space to celebrate life
Sometimes families decide to have a service or celebration of life at a future time rather than immediately after the death. This allows far flung friends and family to travel. Families choose a specific day to get friends and family together in celebration of a life well lived. This can be a birthday, an anniversary, or other significant day. A celebration of life gives family and friends a hopeful space to share fond memories of their loved one, tell funny stories about them, and shed light on the positive aspects of that person’s life. Picking a specific day helps give those grieving a time for remembrance, and allows a healthy balance for starting to heal.
3. Begin the healing process
Many choose to have a service because a service is a safe and supportive environment to express deep emotion and begin the healing process. The judgement-free space welcomes those to grieve in a spectrum of ways. Your local funeral director or funeral planner will be able to share with you ways others have planned and personalized services with grief and healing in mind”
Having a service also creates a space for friends or acquaintances to begin healing as well and to pay condolences to close family and friends of the loved one. Some have said that having a service reduces the number of people who approach close family and friends to express their condolences later. Many people prefer a service so they aren’t approached as often at the grocery store, at work, on the street, at church, or while out to eat with condolences from community members.
4. Helps provide a sense of closure
A service gives the family and friends of the loved one who’s passed a place to say their goodbyes, talk about their feelings, and have a final word about the importance of this person in their lives. It’s the closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new season of healing. It’s not the end of the grief process, but instead perhaps the first step into a new period. The service provides those mourning with a chance to understand their pain, and overcome the pain with hope for the future.
5. Acknowledges the immense change a death causes
Losing someone close to you is often transformative. It flips your world upside down and can create a dramatic shift in day-to-day being. Having a service ceremonially acknowledges the tear this loss creates in the fabric of our lives. The community support and acknowledgement of this immense loss can begin to stitch the pieces left behind back together. No matter the loss, having support from those in your community will strengthen everyone, and empower those who need it.