Burial or Graveside Services
How to Plan a Funeral
Grief, Guidance and Glossary
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If someone you love has recently passed away, we want to start by saying how sorry we are, and offer our sincerest condolences. Lougheed Funeral Home understands that this is a very hard time for you and your family, and we want you to know that we are here to help you in any way we can. A celebration of life or memorial service can be a helpful starting point as they are both are intended to lift everyone's spirits by focusing on positive memories.
Let us help you plan a Celebration of Life Together
While a celebration of life is not burdened by social expectations—it can be pretty much anything you want it to be—it's important to realize that the event you're planning should meet the emotional needs of the guests. So, think about exactly who will be there, and what they're likely to want or need. Then, bring in those unique lifestyle and personality characteristics of the deceased; perhaps add live music or refreshments, and you've got the beginnings of a remarkable celebration of life. There are many other memorial service ideas that can help you plan a celebration of life, so take some time to think about how your loved one would want to be remembered. You should also spend some time learning about the different options you have with Lougheed Funeral Home by reading about Sudbury burial services and Sudbury cremation.
It's interesting; when comparing a funerals vs a celebration of life, they have much in common, yet they often appear very different. Each is a ceremony; a gathering of people who share a common loss. It's just that one is more rooted in tradition, while the other is the result of recent changes in social values. But both serve to do three things:
1. Help the bereaved family, and their community, publically acknowledge the death of one of their own.
2. Support the grieving family by surrounding them with caring friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
3. Move the deceased from one social status to another.
Yet they achieve those things in very different ways. First, let's take a closer look at what most of us commonly see as very traditional funerals.
It's not surprising funerals have been around for a very long time. Composed of three activities, the visitation, the funeral service, and the committal service, performed at the graveside; this funeral is the one we'd easily recognize from contemporary literature and film.
The Visitation: Held prior to the funeral, often the night before but sometimes on the same day, the visitation (or viewing) is a time when people come to support the family and, more importantly, pay their respects to the deceased. This often involves stepping up to the casket to view the body; either in the company of a member of the surviving family or on your own.
The Funeral Service: Commonly held in the funeral home or church, the traditional funeral service is led by an officiant of one kind or another; most commonly a pastor or the funeral director. This individual follows a very predictable funeral order of service which includes the singing of hymns; and invocations, Bible recitations, Scripture readings, and prayers led by the officiant.
The Committal Service: This takes place at the cemetery, after a slow and respectful automobile procession from the place where the funeral was held. The committal service ends when the casketed remains are lowered into the ground, and final prayers are said.
If you'd like to know more about the history of funerals in the United States, you may like to visit the website of the National Museum of Funeral History. But for now, it's enough to know that a funeral service traditionally has these three distinct components. Now let's look at a celebration-of-life service.
Author Barbara Kingsolver, in her book The Poisonwood Bible, wrote “To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.” We think this reflection is at the heart of planning a celebration of life. While a funeral, as we've described it above, has more to do with the orderly and often spiritually-defined; a celebration of life is more concerned with telling the story of the deceased. Celebrations of life are just that: a time people come together more to celebrate the unique personality and achievements of the deceased than to merely witness or mark the change in their social status.
Celebrations of life are similar to memorial services, which can be described as a hybrid event; combining the flexibility of a celebration of life with many of the activities of a traditional funeral order-of-service.
There's more room for creativity in a celebration of life than a funeral. Since celebrations of life are commonly held after the individual's physical remains have been cared for through burial or cremation; there is much more time available to plan the event. And without doubt, this allows you to make better decisions about how you'd like to celebrate the life of someone you dearly loved.
If you’ve been considering a memorial service for your loved one there is a lot to think about and plan for. First of all, a memorial service is a service without the body present, which varies depending on the wishes of the deceased, the family’s wishes, and religious affiliations. Your family might prefer a public visitation where anyone can come and pay their respects, or they might want a private graveside service with a memorial service held at the funeral home after. Since the body is not present at the memorial service or celebration of life, it can take place either before or after burial. You also have the ability to hold a memorial service instead of a funeral or in addition to a funeral. For example, you could have a funeral in the town where the deceased died and then a memorial service in the town where he/she grew up.
Many families are choosing to have a memorial service or celebration of life instead of a funeral because it allows them to customize the service and honor the life of their loved one in a way that is unique to them. If you have any questions about having a memorial service or celebration of life, please feel free to give us a call at 705-673-9591. You also have the option to email us through our online contact form or come by in person to speak to a funeral director.