Crafting A Meaningful Farewell: 6 Things To Consider
Here in the UK, the funeral landscape is in the middle of a seismic shift. As more and more of us opt for ceremonies that are moving away from the traditional solemnity and towards a more personalised and uplifting style, planning a modern goodbye will inevitably involve more careful considerations around an individual’s life, the kind of goodbye you think they’d like (or actually listening to what they’ve even told about what they want). As well as embracing the eco-friendly options and considering how much the use of technology can enhance or detract from the perfect send off.
So as you start to think about crafting a meaningful farewell here’s 6 things to consider. The choice of location has become increasingly important too because you do not have to restrict yourselves to ‘just a’ religious building or ‘just a’ crematorium.
Finding the right venue will help set the tone as well as possibly dictate the length of your farewell ceremony.
Funeral or Memorial Ceremony?
The first choice will be funeral or memorial ceremony, both are now widely available.
A funeral normally consists of a a burial or cremation, with all ‘the attendant observances’.
A memorial ceremony with as much ritual and attendant observances as you’d like will usually follow a direct cremation (an unattended cremation with no ritual) we’ll look at locations in a bit.
They are becoming increasingly popular because family and friends have more control over that final goodbye.
Modern funerals celebrate the uniqueness of individuals. When planning a ceremony, focus on personalising the experience to reflect the life and personality of the person who has died. Why not incorporate elements such as favourite pieces of music, anecdotes, a game, the dress code. What about food and drink, maybe an offering or other symbolic element? And obviously you can include as many people as would like to share all their own cherished memories too as you create the most meaningful tribute.
Eco Friendly Choices
A whole other blog in its own right, but here are the headlines!
Green funerals offer a way to bid farewell while minimising the environmental impact typically associated with traditional funeral practices.
We now have the choice to use.
Biodegradable caskets and urns: Traditional coffins are often made of materials that take decades, if not centuries, to decompose. Green funerals advocate for biodegradable caskets made from materials like bamboo, willow, or even recycled cardboard. Similarly, biodegradable urns crafted from materials such as salt, sand, or plant fibres provide environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional urns.
We can opt for natural burials: Natural burials represent a return to simpler, more sustainable practices. In these eco-friendly funerals a person is laid to rest without embalming fluids or non-biodegradable caskets, allowing the body to decompose naturally and contribute to the surrounding ecosystem. Natural burial sites are often set in nature reserves or woodland areas, creating a serene and environmentally conscious final resting place.
There is now cremation with a green touch available in some areas (aquamation or resomation as it is also known).It is said to use 5 times less energy than cremation by fire.
Promoting Sustainability Values: Opting for a green funeral allows individuals and families to align their end-of-life choices with their values of sustainability and environmental stewardship. It sends a powerful message about the importance of responsible and eco-conscious living.
In the age of digital connectivity, technology has become a vital component of modern funerals. Livestreaming services enable friends and family from across the globe to participate virtually. Online memorial pages and social media platforms provide spaces for sharing memories, photos, and condolences, fostering a sense of community and support.
Sometimes simple is good though, switch of the phone, focus on the person and be in the moment.
As with every choice, it is very personal and pertinent to the moment in time.
Traditional Venues: While traditional venues such as religious places of worship and crematoriums remain popular choices, there’s a growing trend towards infusing these spaces with a more personalised touch. Collaborate with the venue to create an atmosphere that reflects the individual’s life and spirit. Most are open to being more inclusive, just remember that you will have to probably book at least a double slot as timings are quite restrictive.
Alternative Venues: Non-traditional locations, such as community centres, woodland and outdoor venues. Hotels, golf clubs or even their own home. the offer unique settings for the modern funeral.
Choosing a venue with personal significance can contribute to a more intimate and authentic experience, allowing attendees to connect with the essence of their family member or friend.
Virtual Services: The challenges of travel and physical presence have given rise to virtual funeral services. Leveraging technology enables a broader audience to participate, fostering a sense of unity even when attendees are geographically dispersed. Virtual services ensure that everyone can share in the farewell, regardless of their location.
Amidst all of these other changes, the language used around death and dying is evolving too.
While euphemisms might be well-intentioned, clear and direct communication is often more helpful when discussing death. Using straightforward language allows for an open and honest dialogue, helping individuals navigate the grieving process with clarity.
Out are dehumanising words like ‘disposal’, ‘removal’ and ‘deceased’. Instead there is a shift towards saying it as it is, using the options of burial or cremation. How about collection instead of removal, and instead of deceased or loved one, use their name or ‘the person who has died’ ?
Check out the ‘Dead Good Words’ campaign.
and poppysfuneral.co.uk pdf around the words we use.
Actively listening to those affected is crucial. Whether you are a family member, friend or professional, allowing an individual to express their feelings, memories, and concerns is paramount. Offering genuine support and understanding fosters an environment where a person can feel heard and validated during this challenging time.
As the way we hold funerals continues to evolve, we should all feel encouraged to explore more innovative ways of saying goodbye.
By embracing personalisation, going green, considering alternative venues, utilising technology and adapting our language, we can create ceremonies that celebrate life and provide solace to those mourning.
With empathy, understanding and by reinforcing the importance of open communication as we navigate the delicate subject of loss we can craft meaningful and modern farewells.
And finally by all working together we can contribute to a cultural shift towards a more compassionate and personalised approach as we honour the family and friends we’re saying our goodbyes to.
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