Often, as a family member becomes older and more frail the family think about how they will provide a fitting farewell. Here are some ideas for your planning:
Consider having a Memorial rather than the Funeral as the major occasion when someone dies?
Professional celebrants offer Memorials as an appropriate way of having closure for the family, as an alternative to, or an addition to a small family funeral because this gives the family more time to:
- work with their celebrant to create a memorable and fitting farewell for their loved one
- organise family and friends to join them, usually on an evening or weekend when work and other commitments make it easier to attend,
- make sure that the cost of the farewell is focused on having a memorable tribute rather than those things that are often forgotten later.(e.g. the type of coffin)
Memorials can be held at any time (evenings, weekends, weekdays) and can be held in :
- a community hall
- a person’s home
- a place of importance to the deceased or the family
- a park or garden
- or favourite club/social venue depending on the number of mourners who will attend.
Memorials are important family gatherings because families are often geographically spread and special occasions are one of the main ways of reuniting and strengthening family connections.
Civil ceremonies may include prayers, religious readings and hymns as well as secular music and readings. It is also a time when respectful reference can be made to the deceased's life by the use of ritual and the inclusion of symbols.
Sometimes a memorial service is held to remember a person who has died and been buried overseas or interstate. It is also an appropriate way of having closure for the family in the tragic event that there is no body available to bury or cremate.
Read more: Ceremonies for loss and grief.
Why not consider having a celebration on a Birthday, Wedding Anniversary, Mothers or Fathers Day as a Thank You tribute to a loved one while they are still alive?
In other words, what CCN calls a Party with a Purpose?
Engaging a professional celebrant can make any of these occasions extra special, because the reason for celebrating is made the centre piece of the gathering.
The role of your professional celebrant, like a wedding or funeral, could include:
- gathering information about the life of person/s we are celebrating, including some family history where appropriate
- coordinating the speeches / tributes by family and friends
- facilitating photo-records or video presentations
- organising an appropriate Memento Album for the occasion with opportunities for guests tributes and photos as required,
- emcee the formal celebration reasonably close to the beginning of the gathering, and finishing with suitable toasts or tributes as agreed by the family
Make the Celebration Your Gift
Remember most people are anxious about being the centre of attention of such an occasion. There are various ways we can work together to ensure that this concern is minimised. .
For example, the seating arrangement can ensure that whilst the purpose of the celebration is the centre piece, the person/s does not have to be out front in the centre.
Steps to plan a “Party with a purpose”
Read more: Steps to plan a “Party with a purpose”
Read more: Celebrating every stage of life.