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Why You Should Have a Funeral (Even if You Don’t Want One)

A surprising number of people who visit our funeral providers tell us they don’t want a funeral, visitation, or memorial service of any kind.

A surprising number of people who visit our funeral providers tell us they don’t want a funeral, visitation, or memorial service of any kind. “I want to be cremated and for that to be the end of it,” some say.

Why Some Say Skip the Gatherings

Some of those we talk to tell us they don’t want to put their family through any trouble after they die, emotionally or financially. Some say they don’t want a “fuss” made. Others tell us they can’t stand the thought of their loved ones gathering for such a sad occasion or feeling obligated to plan a service of any kind. But there can be many benefits for those we leave behind to gather in some way to honor our memory.

Why Funerals Can Help the Grieving Process

Funerals allow families and friends to share a collective mourning that can be beneficial to the mental health of those who participate. Sharing stories about your life, describing what you meant to them, expressing feelings of loss – this is what strengthens a community and helps adults and children through a difficult and confusing time. The funeral can include a series of small rituals that can help others cope with the loss. You might also consider an alternative way to be remembered with its own unique gifts. A memorial or scattering has many of the same emotional benefits for your loved ones such as feeling less alone, sharing your story and even when possible, having some laughter to ease the pain. The main thing is to have a shared experience with others.

Reflecting Your Passions

You might be surprised how many options there are to beautifully reflect your passions, hobbies and accomplishments — and these do not have to be expensive.

For example, if you enjoy cooking, think of how special it could be for your family and friends to gather for a reception featuring your favorite foods. From a more refined, full-course dinner to a barbecue, the options are almost endless. For those who love photography, or sports, your pictures or memorabilia can be added to any celebration.

Your service can be a celebration of life, traditional funeral or a simple scattering at a beach, park or favorite place. You can ask that these be as big or small as you’d like. Maybe your family wants to gather at home and watch your favorite movie, or maybe they have a big family reunion in the summer wearing matching t-shirts to remember you by. Though the event should be a reflection of you, the gift is for the living to have a chance to gather and heal.

Write It Down

Your loved ones want to honor your memory, but if you don’t write down what you want, they can only guess about what your favorite song was, the places that were meaningful to you, the poem you liked. By making a plan and sharing a written copy with your loved ones, they’ll have more confidence that what they are planning to do fits what your vision was for the event.

Living Funerals

More and more, people are holding living funerals to honor loved ones before they die. If this is something that appeals to you, work with a friend or family member to secure a room (like a church hall or community center), arrange food (catered or pot luck) and photos or a video slideshow. For many people, this is a chance to celebrate a life while the person who is being celebrated can appreciate what is shared.

Ultimately, the choice of how to be remembered rests with you, but the gift lies in providing an opportunity for the living to gather, share, and find solace in the memories created. By thoughtfully considering these aspects, you contribute to a meaningful and healing experience for those you leave behind.

For more reasons why you should plan your own funeral ahead of time, check out our article Why Wait? 10 Game-Changing Reasons to Plan Your Legendary Funeral.