Celebration of Life: What is a Celebration of Life Service?
Funeral. Memorial. Shiva. These end-of-life
services are time-honored traditions when it comes to honoring the
dead. Our culture, family traditions, religious
beliefs and personal accomplishments are as unique as a life
lived and can also play a role in how we honor a life -
incorporating these details can transform an end-of-life services
In recent years, more and more requests are being made to
incorporate these unique details into traditional funerals and
memorials to ensure the uniqueness of the life lived is
represented. People are foregoing the traditional funeral rituals and choosing to
celebrate the life of the person who died in a personal, meaningful
and memorable way.
A celebration-of-life service is only one part
of funeral (or memorial) decisions
When someone dies there are many decisions to be made and
usually not a lot of time to make them in. Of all the life events
we acknowledge, funerals and memorials are typically not well
researched in advance - and in many cases not even discussed among
family members. We are often left making hasty decisions out of
necessity and lump all of our plans into one big basket called a
"funeral." Try to mentally organize what's happening into 4
Feelings of grief and
sadness. Grief and mourning are natural
expressions of emotions experienced with loss and death. When we
love someone and they are no longer present in our lives, we miss
them. It's natural to feel grief - it's sad and emotional, and
making important (and timely) decisions can be difficult, so it's
important to lean on others to help.
Decisions regarding the
physical body. Cremation or burial? Whether it's a cultural belief or
personal preference, decisions about what to do with the physical
body need to be made.
matters. Organizing the meals, making
arrangements for out-of-town guests, notifying others, cleaning out
an estate, getting copies of the death certificate - these
administrative chores can be given to others looking for ways to
been said a person needs to talk about their grief 100 times in
order to move through the grieving process. Whether this happens in
a traditional setting such as a funeral home, an intimate setting such as a
backyard or at a large venue, the idea of having people come
together to support the living and honor the life of the person who
died is important to the grieving process.
A celebration-of-life service is not an event -
it's a way of thinking.
A celebration-of-life honors the life of the person who died and
uplifts those who attend. This personalization can be as subtle as
displaying photographs and personal mementos, playing
music or other favorite items at a traditional venue or by hosting an elaborate
well-planned party in honor of the person who died.