Often when you think of a funeral service or a memorial service, the first thing that comes to mind is sad, dreadful, tear-filled, mourning, or more simply put, “depressing.” While all of these terms may be true, the reason we hold these services is to remember our loved one and to honor the life they have lived. Often times, many people now call a funeral or memorial service a “Celebration of Life” – meaning they want it to be a joyous celebration for their loved one. It is looked at as a time to reflect on the memories and share stories of that person’s life.
So, how do we make this happen?
Working in a funeral home, we see many creative ideas from families on how they personalize their loved one’s service. We love to see families bring in Grandpa’s golf clubs or fishing pole, or Nannie’s quilts that she so loved to make. Some families ask guests to wear Nannie’s favorite color so the room will then be filled with that color.
We have also seen the family request that the florist personalize the flowers for the service to include the loved one’s favorite hobbies or interests. They may include personal items in the display or use specific flowers to reflect who the person was. Grandpa loved fishing so the florist may include fishing lures or floats in the arrangement of Cattails and Sunflowers.
Another option would be to bring in blank cards and a box or basket to place them in for guests to share precious memories with you that can be read later. Often when you are going through grief, it is helpful to look back on treasured memories to help you overcome the sorrow and pain you may be feeling.
Play Grandpa’s favorite music and bring in a few of his favorite items from home, like maybe the blanket he used while watching TV or his coffee cup he used every morning. Display photos on a memory table for everyone to see or ask about creating a Tribute DVD to play a slideshow of pictures to display his life and who he was.
There are so many different options for personalizing a service for your loved one. We find that personalization creates a warm atmosphere and the service will have more meaning which can help you better overcome the grief and handle the grief you are going through.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh