There’s a rather disturbing trend today where more and more people are saying they don’t want any kind of funeral or celebration of life for them when they die or people simply choose not to do anything when a loved one dies, they opt for what is called direct cremation and that’s it.
Let me start by speaking to those who say they don’t want anything; not to be rude my friends but the celebration of life or funeral is not for you, it is about you but it is for your loved ones. Too often I have heard from or about families who feel something important is missing when they don’t do something no matter how informal it might be. Contrary to what you will often hear, a service or gathering of some sort is not about ‘closure’ it is a step, not the end. It is a necessary step in the grieving process, it acknowledges the relationship, it acknowledges the death and it offers an avenue of support for them.
If your concern is that you aren’t religious so you don’t want a religious service, no problem, there are plenty of people like me, celebrants who will design a service to suit you and your family’s beliefs and needs.
If your concern is about the money, ok, valid point, funerals can be expensive but that doesn’t mean people can’t gather somewhere, even in a home or community hall or a park in the summer or a restaurant to do something. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it needs to be meaningful.
If your concern is that you aren’t worth having some kind of gathering for then I’d like to invite you to consider that you may not think you are worth it but maybe someone else does. If your life hasn’t been exciting or eventful that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a blessing to someone, or to many for that matter. Most of the time we have no idea of the impact we have on others. If you aren’t sure then at least leave it to them to decide instead of tying them up in knots trying to follow your wishes when it just doesn’t feel right.
Now to those of you who just chose direct cremation with no memorial or celebration of life for a loved one, you are likely not doing yourself a service either for all the reasons listed above and more. If you had a rough relationship with the deceased then you need something to acknowledge the pain that has been going on far longer than since the death. You might also need some perspective that others can provide as you witness their grief and what their relationship was like with the deceased.
All lives matter is the bottom line. Please don’t let yours or your loved one’s end with no acknowledgement of any sort. Reach out to people who can help you figure out some way you can honour yourself and the people you care about at this very important time. I’m happy to offer information or ideas or my services and I know many others who can too.