More and more, people are moving away from traditional funerals and burial services and choosing celebrations of life as a way to honor the deceased. Many of you may be asking, “What is a celebration of life, exactly?” The truth is, a celebration of life is a funeral, and a funeral is a celebration of life.
When we hear the word ‘funeral,’ it conjures up images of a solemn service in a church or chapel with a casket, everyone mourning in black, pallbearers and hearses, etc. A traditional funeral is an elegant and honorable way to say goodbye to a loved one. But a funeral doesn’t have to be like the ones we see in the movies. A funeral can be tailored specifically to the personality of the deceased and the needs of their family.
“Celebration of life” is a term people have adopted to shed some of the formality and somberness associated with traditional funerals. They hope for a ceremony that has space for the joy the person brought to their lives, and the flexibility to include details that were unique to the deceased’s personality. Celebrations of life often take place somewhere other than a religious venue or graveside, such as homes, parks, mountainsides, or places the honored loved to be, like a baseball field or library. We helped put together a beautiful ceremony conducted at a local skate park, where people came to share in the joy it once brought to their loved one.
Celebrations of life can include traditional elements or none at all. Funerals can include unorthodox aspects or be completely customary. End-of-life gatherings all have the same purpose: to honor the life of a person, for the people who knew them to share in their loss and reconnect, and to help begin the process of healing.
Whatever you choose to call it, coming together to pay tribute to and remember a life lived is always a good thing.