I work with a lot of families as a Life Celebrant, helping them honour and remember their loved ones in ways that are right for them.
There was a time when you pretty much had to have a religious service if you wanted any kind of end of life ceremony but that doesn’t fit for everyone anymore. In Canada, Pew Research Forum identified only 24% of people who attended religious services at least once a month. That was in 2012 and the numbers were dropping.
So what about meaningful end of life ceremonies then? If religious rights aren’t meaningful for people it’s still an important part of the grieving process to have some kind of ceremony, ritual or gathering. There are a number of celebrants who now provide services that honour the deceased and their families’ beliefs and values while providing a sense of comfort and acknowledgement that the person who has died was important to them.
As with all things the funeral industry is changing and getting more creative which is wonderful! It’s up to the individuals and families to get more involved in the planning and delivery of end of life services which contributes to healthy grieving. Talking about the person who has died, having services that reflect their interests and values is a way not only of honouring them but it provides an outlet for expressing thoughts, feelings, memories on the road to healing hearts that are hurting.
Tears and laughter are both great healers and remembering is an important part of letting go. Grieving and saying goodbye is an emotional roller coaster ride with all kinds of unexpected twists and turns but when we learn to embrace the ride it can also be a sweet and poignant time.
Death and grief are all part of this thing we call life so why not give ourselves to it and make the most of it so that we can also make the most of the rest of our lives.