Simply mention the word “funeral” and it can evoke a wide variety of reactions. For many, the emotion of sadness is the likely response as the memory of losing someone they loved is the first thing that comes to mind. For others, the response is one of fear because they have never attended a funeral and know that one day they will be forced to confront this reality.
Many persons are likely to respond with a combination of feelings ranging from sadness to peace of mind. While the sadness is for aforementioned reason, the source of their peace of mind or comfort could be from the fond memories of the well planned, personalized funeral that honored their loved one’s life and legacy.
Because of their religious upbringing or perhaps other past experiences with death, many persons understand the reasons for and emotional support that is gained through the experience of having a funeral. Still, there are also those who question the value of engaging in the funeral ritual.
Noted author, educator and psychologist Dr. Alan Wolfelt, provides the following insight on the value of the funeral ritual:
“Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life's most important events. Baptism celebrates the birth of a child and that child's acceptance into the church family. Birthday parties honor the passing of another year in the life of someone we love. Weddings publicly affirm the private love shared by two people.
The funeral ritual, too, is a public, traditional and symbolic means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone loved. Rich in history and rife with symbolism, the funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture's values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.”
For more information on Dr. Wolfelt’s work, go to: www.centerforloss.com
Whether you or your loved one are members of a formal religion, are spiritual but not religious, or have other beliefs, a funeral is a unique way of honoring a person’s life and can be a great source of comfort to those survivors who are grieving the loss.
Be assured that your NFDA funeral director is ready to help you understand the value of the funeral. He or she will inform, educate and help you understand all of your options so that you may plan a funeral that is fitting to the unique life that was lived.