When a person you love transitions from this world to the next, you need to provide an opportunity to respectfully remember them. This can be a funeral or a memorial service. Now I think of a funeral as a respectful remembrance ceremony where there is the final remains of the transitioned person. I think of a memorial service as a respectful remembrance ceremony without the remains. Just giving you my definition. Don’t know if there is really a difference.
But it is the duty or chore or job of the family to put this ceremony together. Not an easy thing to pull off. You want to honor your loved one but you don’t want people to feel uncomfortable or create a sea of depression.
And some people attend a memorial service out of feelings of obligation. Others have no choice because of the relationship such as being a member of the family or a co-worker or a person’s boss. Essentially it is not at the top of a person’s “I want to” list. So when you are planning the service, you want people to breathe a sigh of relief when it is a pleasant experience and not a downer.
There are many choices needing to be made. Who will preside? What special words do you want spoken? What type of music and what specific songs should be included? What should the program look like?
The first decision is to find a funeral home to help you. This is hard. You want someone that you trust. You want someone that will listen and guide you instead of selling you the biggest funeral that they have. Oh, yes. It is a product that you are buying, and you are vulnerable so sometimes you spend more money with the encourgagement of the funeral director. You need a person with reason to help you.
We were very lucky. My husband and I had talked about dying many times. We both looked around and realized that this was a natural thing that happened to all people. So it was smart to think about it and be prepared. So I knew exactly what he wanted and what I should do. I knew the funeral home he trusted and I also knew that I could be careful in what I spent.
The program became a group project for the family. A little bit of serious, a little bit of funny and a comfortable amount of talking about my husband. Remembering the agenda kept us on target. We were not preaching to the lost, we were honoring my husband and remembering the good times in his life.
Since we have a large family we got the children involved in drawing pictures and displaying lots of photos of the fun times we had with Poppy. We quoted Dr. Suess as well as C.S. Lewis and the Bible. We had modern songs and old favorites. And we had a flag ceremony to remember his time serving in the Air Force.
I enjoyed the memorial service. It was a great mixture of his life. It was not sad. There were serious parts and there was laughter. I felt him there and he was enjoying it with us. My husband was a very loved man and his service reflected his valued life and all that he gave to us. It was our time to say,” We love you, we honor and respect you and we will always remember you”. He left a legacy and I feel we honored his legacy through his service.