Why We Need Funerals
Funerals and memorial services are important rites of passage. They gather the mourners in and help them relate to each other’s loss as well as their own. They bring those grieving most deeply into contact with the wider community so they can see the ripple effect of their loved one’s life and receive the support of their community. Through the funeral service, we establish the substance of the deceased, tell their story, and inventory our loss. As we celebrate the life that has been lived, those in attendance participate to the extent desired, by remembering and sharing, thus beginning the process of healing.
When we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral service fills several important needs. First, it provides for the dignified and respectful care of the person and special tribute to their life. Equally important, the funeral service helps survivors face the reality of death, which is the first big step toward taking grief from the inside and allowing us to express it on the outside through mourning. Together, close friends and relatives can lend support and consolation when they’re needed most.
A funeral gives friends and relatives an opportunity to express the love and respect they feel for someone who was important to them. Often, just seeing how much others care can be a tremendous help to a family in adjusting to their loss.
Importance of Mourning
While your grief journey will be unique, all mourners have certain needs that must be met if they are to heal. Though these reconciliations needs of mourning are numbered one through six below, they are not intended to serve as orderly steps on the road to healing. Instead, you will find yourself bouncing back and forth from one to the other, and maybe even working on one or two simultaneously.
- Acknowledge the reality of the death.
- Move toward the pain of the loss.
- Continue the relationship with the person who died through memory.
- Develop a new self-identity.
- Search for meaning.
- Continue to receive support from others.
Death is a natural and inevitable part of life… yet when it comes, death shakes our community to its foundation. The world we know has changed. Going forward, nothing will be the same.
Funerals provide a rite of passage. In the midst of the confusion and grief, they create a certain amount order and control. We publicly recognize what has happened. We share our loss together. We begin the process of healing.
Funeral and memorial services give the extended community a place to honor the deceased, to reflect on what that life meant, and to say farewell.