Funerals – Memorials – A Good Goodbye
There are many ways we say goodbye to a loved one and as with grieving, this process is personal and unique to each individual. Funeral services and memorial services are also diverse, ranging from an elaborate ceremony, to a simple private ceremony, to no funeral service or memorial service at all.
Each person leaves behind a unique legacy and this it is the goal of a funeral service to honor that legacy and memory. The funeral service should be personalized. Often a theme representing the deceased favorite past-time, profession or hobby is incorporated into the service. Sometimes, especially with a memorial service the ceremony is a reminiscing informal celebration of life. There are no right or wrong ways to honor the family member, but it should reflect the wishes of the deceased and the family.
Funeral Service Options
There are many forms of funeral services available for the family. The service selection is a very personal choice and we are able to accommodate any type of funeral services from simple to traditional to the truly unique.
It is our job to help you through this difficult time and assist you with any funeral services you wish. We give you the best experience possible during this difficult time.
Simple Final Viewing for Family
Short Viewing for Family and Friends
Longer Formal Viewing
Committal Service at the Graveside (for body or cremains)
Traditional Funeral Services
A traditional funeral service consists of three individual rituals or components;
- Visitation -The visitation is held at a funeral home or other appropriate location and is for the family and friends to gather and say goodbye, expressing support and love. The deceased’s body is not required to be present, but often traditionally is.
- Funeral Service – Most commonly the funeral service is held at church, yet this is not required. It has become increasingly more common to hold the service at other locations, such as a location which was important to the deceased..
- Committal Service – This is the graveside service or the location of the scattering of cremains.
A memorial service is similar to a funeral service however the casket is not present and an urn may or may not be present. Often the terms funeral service and memorial service are used interchangeably by many people outside the funeral industry.
Memorial services are often less formal and tend to be more a celebration of a persons life, focusing on the many positive aspects of their life. Usually, there is not much of a religions component associated with memorial service as opposed to the traditional funeral service.
Embalming – Do we need it?
Humanity have developed several methods of trying to stave off the decomposition of the deceased, with some methods achieving more success than others. Modern embalming methods advanced greatly during the period of the American civil war. This development was pushed by the need to have the remains of soldier return home reasonably intact and stave off disease, as much as possible.
The process of embalming is rarely required by law. It is very often performed however when the deceased is being viewed at a service and enables the body to appear asleep, at peace and generally makes the deceased more appealing to view inside the casket. Embalming is NOT permanent preservation. It is a method of temporarily preserving the remains for just a few days. If there is no viewing of the body – embalming is often forgone.
3 Reasons for embalming
To allow adequate time between death and burial to observe social customs such as visitations and funeral services. Especially important if family is travelling long distances to attend.
Prevent the spread of infection. This is both in terms of degradtion of the deceased and especially to the loved one family, if they should come in contact with deceased.
Cosmetic work is often used for aesthetic reasons, making the deceased much more presentable. This is especially the case with bodily trauma that has occurred, many issues may be obscured.
Modern embalming consists primarily of removing all blood and gases from the body and the insertion of a disinfecting fluid. There are also more bio-friendly chemicals which may be used for a slightly additional cost. For additional information on embalming please review our embalming question and answers section.
Prefaring Funeral / Memorial Service
Many decisions need to be made while arranging and scheduling a funeral or memorial service. The key questions below will help you get on the right track and although not an extensive list, are a great start. As always, we are here to help you in any way possible to get through this difficult time. It is important to have some type of funeral service as it helps with healing – funerals are really for the living.
Where is the event ? (church, outside etc.)
Is the deceased to be present? (casket/urn)
Who will deliver the Eulogy? (i.e. clergy, friends)
What flowers are desired ?
Do you have music?
Is there a guest book?
Will there be a video tribute?
Is there going to be a catered reception?
Did they have a special hobby such as fishing, scuba diving, photography, flying, gardening, or something they spent time doing? If so, then use this as a theme for the service. Bring in their equipment or some photos they took or trophies they won etc. Have a friend speak about them in relation to their passion.
Location of Service
Is there someplace that was special to them? If so, can you hold the service at this or a similar location.
Perhaps the person like to surf – so you could hold the service on the beach. Perhaps they liked horses so hold it in a stable. There are no rights or wrongs – it is about honoring them!
Music at Service
Was there special music they enjoyed and if so play some at the service – either live or recorded. Did they play an instrument? Do you have a recording of them playing or singing?
Having appropriate music really helps make the service special.