When someone we love dies, how do we decide if we should have a funeral service, or not? Taking a look at the reasons to have a funeral may help us decide. The very act of having a ceremony illustrates the respect for the deceased individual. The service aides the attendees in acknowledging, remembering, and providing support during a time of mourning.
Funeral services help survivors become aware of the reality that a loved one has died. From there friends and family can share and express their grief. When friends and families see how each other reacts, it provides help in adjusting to life without the loved one.
During the funeral, we can share beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about the death of a loved one and say goodbye. Individuals have different needs when it comes to mourning.
- Some may become aware and accept the fact that the death is real.
- Some may construct memories to help with the pain and meaning of the death.
- Some others may search for the meaning of death, and look for ways to keep communication lines open for sharing memories.
Services are for the Living
On occasion, a friend or relative says he or she does not want any fuss, funeral, or any services. In that case, the person may be thinking they won’t be around – so why bother. However, the services are meant for their living relatives, and friends who miss them, and want to honor them. The services are not for the deceased, but for those left behind. The services that allow memories are like the end of a favorite book.
Historically, rituals serve the purpose of allowing grief, celebrating a life, having a way to acknowledge the death of a loved one, and provide an acceptable way to recognize the process of life. All cultures and societies have customs regarding what to do when someone dies. The customs involve some ceremony, a place to bury or otherwise remember the deceased, and a way to celebrate memories.
Ceremonies – Worship – Customs
Originally, the ceremonies may have been to calm fears of death or spirits. Since that time, there have been many rituals developed to address the death of family and friends. With the development of religions, worship was included in ceremonies.
Our modern funerals have customs that have been developed historically, either from customs of the past or religious beliefs. We wear acceptable clothing, have food with friends and relatives, light candles, and ring bells. If the deceased was in the military, the ceremony might involve the firing of a rifle salute.
Lastly, our funeral ceremonies and graves are decorated with floral arrangements and are accompanied by a rich history of music written for funerals.