If you say, “I don’t want a funeral,” you are not alone. Often, people feel like a funeral is bragging or giving themselves a big shout-out. Others want to save money for heirs. And some feel like their life is not worth honoring. However, “A majority of Americans believe funerals and memorial services are a valuable and important part of healing after the death of a loved one – and that funeral professionals can help them meaningfully honor a life.” (1) Let’s look at why you might want to consider honoring your life through some type of remembrance service.
Remembering is For Your Loved Ones
When you pass away, your close friends and family face a gaping hole in their hearts where your presence once lived. They can no longer pick up the phone and say “Hi.” You are no longer there when they need to talk with you. Any emotional support you gave others is suddenly gone. Those left behind need to talk about and recognize their loss.
If you’ve depended on someone to care for you physically, you also leave a hole. This person who is pouring their life into you all of a sudden must find another way to live their daily life. A former caregiver goes through a jarring readjustment time without caring for your everyday needs anymore.
Why Does Remembering Matter?
Your loved ones would like to have a time to express their feelings and memories with each other. It is normal to want to remember and memorialize your life. Your loved ones need this time together to talk about missing you and make sense of what has happened.
If you ask your loved ones how they feel about you, they would likely say they love and appreciate you. Many probably cherish the time you spend together. However, relationships suddenly end when you die.
It’s not your fault that the relationship ended, but your loved ones need to process the pain of losing you. That is what a funeral is for: so that everyone can come together for the express purpose of honoring, loving, and sharing that this life mattered to them.
Your Legacy Matters
Grandchildren left behind may wonder more about who you were. They need to hear the stories of your life and see what legacy you left behind.
- What was your life philosophy?
- What mattered to you?
- How did you treat others?
- Why did others care about you?
- Who were your friends?
- Why did you have or not have children?
These are questions that help the younger generation form their future life vision. They look to their grandparents and other older adults to learn more about how to live. A biography about your life might be titled:
- “How to Live Well”
- “Finding Truth in a Sea of Lies”
- “What Not to Do with Your Life”
- “The Adventurous Life”
- “A Poet’s Soul”
- “Caring for Others”
- “Triumphing Over Adversity”
- “Seeing the Beauty in Others”
Whatever the theme of your life, your life meant something to those around you. Even if you live alone and have no family, someone needs a time to honor your life here on earth.
Why All the Pomp and Circumstance?
As an example of why someone might want a funeral, a longtime active community member, businessman, and political office holder passed. His funeral was huge, with thousands attending over the course of 2 days. Flower memorials numbered in the hundreds. The widow, who herself was aging, stood up well to the rigors of greeting all of those that attended.
At the end of the second day after 10 PM, the funeral director went over to see how she was doing. He was sure that she would be bordering on exhaustion. To his surprise, he found her walking around the chapels, looking at every flower piece and reading every card. An even greater surprise was the big smile she had on her face.
Although she had lost her lifetime companion and father of her four children, she seemed pleased. Pleased by the turnout. Pleased by the many memories shared. Hers was a look of satisfaction and appreciation. That is what a funeral is for: a beautiful tribute to a life well-lived.
There are Many Ways to Remember
You can let your loved ones remember well whether you choose a large funeral or a simple memorial time together with a small number of family members. Your loved ones will appreciate your input if you plan what you want.
Making a plan beforehand helps your family understand your wishes and honor you in a way that fits in with your ideas. Planning is a gift to your loved ones.
Most funeral homes offer price points for every budget and idea to memorialize a loved one. Ways to inter remains abound with green burials, cremations, and traditional burials. You may choose a small intimate time together in a chapel with a family member singing and brief eulogies or just a ceremonial time at your local funeral home’s crematory as you receive the ashes.
If You Still Don’t Want a Funeral
It’s important to realize that funerals, memorials, and other types of gatherings after your death are not about you. Your life meant something to those around you. They need a specific time to come together and grieve. They need to connect for support, for their continued growth, and to process the trauma of losing you. Your life was worth something. That is why we have funerals.
We Can Help
At Renaissance Funeral Home, we know that every life has meaning. We help you celebrate the beauty of a full life by creating a time for your loved ones to come together and mourn their loss. Comforting each other helps loved ones in their grief journey. Endings are hard, but a happy ending involves acknowledging and understanding that you led a meaningful life and that you mattered. Your family and friends want to know that no one will forget you. Find out how we can help you create a time to remember well for yourself or your loved ones.
- – according to the results of a nationwide online survey conducted from March 31 – April 10, 2015, among 1,238 U.S. adults age 40+ and 305 U.S. adults age 20-39 by Harris Poll on behalf of the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC).