Importance of personalizing a funeral

By: Frazer Consultants
Thursday, September 22, 2011

A funeral service provides an opportunity to memorialize a loved one in a specific, formal way. Any such service will help mourners to express their grief, but a personalized one will have a much greater impact.

You’ve probably attended a funeral service during which it became obvious that the officiant or other person leading the proceedings didn’t know the deceased very well, if at all. Perhaps you’ve been to a funeral where the entire focus was on religious rituals to the exclusion of anything personal.

Being a participant in such an impersonal ceremony can be unnerving and unsettling. Although you might value the religious aspect of a sacred ceremony, or understand that an officiant might be unacquainted with those he eulogizes, it doesn’t help or comfort you in your grief. At a time of such deep emotion and pain, you want to talk about your loved one and hear others talking about him, as well.

It can be healing to share stories and reveal details about the life of a person who has recently passed on. When you talk about him in the past tense, you begin to accept that he’s gone. When you tell others about the way you feel, you acknowledge that there are a number of emotions with which you must cope. You talk, you laugh, and you cry. You release some of your fear and pain through communicating the story of your loved one.

For this reason, it’s important to personalize the funeral. Not only the service itself, but the viewing, the time during which you receive visitors, should be as personal as possible. Display photos, play her favorite music, and tell the funny stories she loved, even if they’re about her.

Personalize as many details of the viewing and service as possible. Many families bring mementos to the funeral home and place them in the casket. Many others make collages of their favorite photos, or create a tribute video that plays during the viewing hours, for visitors to see. Personalized funeral stationery is also an excellent way to not only honor your loved one, but also provide mourners with a keepsake from the funeral or memorial service.

Through talking about your loved one, telling the story of his passing and re-telling the story of his life, you make his death a reality. Although you’ll express some grief and receive some comfort during a less-personal proceeding, you’ll benefit immensely from having the opportunity to talk about and memorialize your loved one in specific detail.

If family are unable to attend a funeral in person to share those special moments, one thing you may want to consider is having the funeral webcast. This way, family and friends who cannot attend the service in person can attend virtually over the internet and still get the closure they desire.

Personalizing a funeral to be as unique as your loved one is important. You’re mourning one individual, a person who had definite likes and dislikes, attitudes and opinions, strong points and not-so-strong ones, talents, skills, hobbies, work and dreams. A funeral that ignores the unique combination of attributes that made up that one individual is much less than it has the potential to be. At Plinton Curry our motto is "It's not just a day in a lifetime, but a lifetime in a single day" so we should make this day a day to remember.

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