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We’ve all been there. Going to a funeral can be a little daunting, especially if it’s your first or if it’s been awhile since you attended one. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the terms you will hear and what you can expect in general.
There’s a great deal of variety in funeral service today. The funeral home works with the surviving family to help them choose service options that reflect their lifestyle and belief system. The spouse, parents, or children of the deceased determine the content of the service.
The service typically includes:
1. A gathering or visitation
2. A religious ceremony
3. Burial or placement in a final resting location (committal)
4. A luncheon, brunch, or wake
The gathering may be held the evening before the service or the same day as the service.
The religious part of the service may be held in the funeral home chapel or in the family’s place of worship.
At the conclusion of the service, a procession will usually travel to the graveside where the casketed body will be buried. Cremated remains may be buried, placed in a niche, presented to a family member for keeping, or scattered.
The committal service is often followed by a meal at the church, the funeral home’s celebration center, the family home, or a restaurant.
If you are attending a gathering or visitation that takes place before the service, the body may or may not be present. When the body is present in an open casket, attendees will usually approach the casket briefly and silently say a few words of farewell or prayer.
The family may choose to receive their guests informally and casually engage in conversation as they circulate among those attending or they may choose to receive guests in a more formal receiving line.
If you are attending a memorial service, the body will not be present. A memorial service may take place weeks or even months after the passing and may or may not include the presence of cremated remains.
The family may choose to have a memorial service for a variety of reasons. Some religions require that the body be buried immediately, necessitating service after burial. Some families just need more time to come together.
How we celebrate a life is often less formal today.
The service may include pictures and music that reflect the lifetime of the deceased. Work or interests of the deceased are often reflected in objects placed in the room or favors shared with attendees.
Attendees may participate by sharing memories of the deceased. A family member or celebrant may also tell the life story in the form of a eulogy.
Funerals are an important part of the grief journey that all families must travel when they lose a family member.
We attend to support and help the family members transition their thoughts from the cause of death to the life’s legacy. This is so they can begin their long healing process.
Your attendance is appreciated and important.
How does Advance funeral Planning affect the first hours before a funeral and the days and weeks that follow?
CALLING THE FUNERAL HOME / MORTUARY
Funeral preplan already in place: When a funeral preplan is already in place and on file at the funeral home, there is no question as to who to call. The deceased has left a clear message. The stunned, tired, grief-stricken family just makes the call and the funeral home takes your loved one into their care.
No funeral preplan in place: When a death occurs and no funeral preplan has been recorded at a funeral home, the first order of business is deciding which funeral home to call. The stunned, tired, grief stricken family must agree upon who they will trust to guide them through this difficult time. They must determine the funeral establishment that will help honor their loved one in a way that satisfies all their needs and fits their budget.
THE EVENING BEFORE THE FUNERAL ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE
Funeral preplan already in place: When a funeral preplan is in place, the family can take this time to comfort each other. They can share memories, go through pictures or just rest. Tomorrow they will meet with the funeral director and review the funeral plan their family member put together with them in mind.
No funeral preplan in place: For the family with no funeral preplan in place, tomorrow will bring many questions and decisions. Tonight, they will be weighing in on one big question – burial or cremation. They’ll be figuring out how much to spend and who will pay for the funeral. They will need to decide which of them will participate in the arrangement conference. They will need to consider and agree upon how to honor their loved one’s life.
DAYS AND WEEKS AFTER THE FUNERAL
Funeral preplan already in place: The family with the funeral preplan has no doubts, no second-guessing, and no regrets. They know they did the “right” thing. They know they spent the right amount of money. They miss the one they lost but they have no regrets about the service that honored their loved one’s life.
No funeral preplan in place: Sadly not all families are able to pull together following the loss of a family member. Some are pulled apart because they disagree about decisions great and small. The days and weeks following a death are emotional and tense. It can be a very difficult time to be making group decisions.
You are welcome to call us any time of the day, any day of the week, for immediate assistance. Or, visit our funeral home in person at your convenience.