Why We Gather
Many families find themselves questioning the value of funeral services. In addition, many individuals tell their family and friends to make things “quick, simple and cheap.” While these individuals think they are looking out for the best interests of their loved ones, it is vitally important to consider the needs of the survivors whom that person left behind. Some believe not having a funeral service will alleviate their feelings of grief, since they do not have to come “face to face” with death. However, many of the families who chose this route will become remorseful in the months after the death as they missed out on the closure and comfort the funeral ceremony brings.
Ceremonies are well planned experiences that help us, together with family, friends and community, to express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events. They are typically public events that serve to unite us, thus providing a support system incorporating common beliefs and values. The act of gathering, the reading of words, singing of song, lighting of candles, help to give expression to the grief of losing a loved one when language alone cannot do so.
The funeral ceremony is really for the living and is helpful in that it:
- helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died
- allows us to say goodbye
- provides a support system for us, friends, family members and our community
- allows us to reflect on the meaning of life and death
- offers continuity and hope for the living
Having a funeral, memorial ceremony, or celebration of life provides for the dignified and respectful care of your loved one and pays a special tribute to their life.
A funeral gathering, with its inherent reflections and remembrances, encourages the sharing of memories and activates support during this naturally difficult time. Equally important, the funeral ceremony helps survivors face the reality of death. This is the first big step in taking grief from the inside and allowing it to be expressed outwardly through mourning. The funeral gathering provides a safe place to acknowledge and affirm the worth of your relationship and express feelings of loss. In certain circumstances, the funeral gathering also helps individuals to release feelings of anger, guilt, resentment, coming to terms with the broken relationship, offering mending. Often, just seeing how much others care can be a tremendous help to a family in adjusting to their loss.