Why the funeral is important
“People who take the time and make the effort to create meaningful funeral arrangements when someone loved dies often end up making new arrangements in their own lives. They remember and reconnect with what is most meaningful to them in life. They strengthen bonds with family members and friends. They emerge changed, more authentic and purposeful. The best funerals remind us how we should live.”- Dr. Alan Wolfelt
Funerals and other ceremonies at a time of death help us process our most profound thoughts and feelings. They make a significant difference in helping us channel our grief toward healing.
When everyday words and actions are inadequate, the ritual of ceremony provides a needed structure of what to say and do. Funerals also help us acknowledge the reality of the death, remember the life that was lived, support one another in our grief, express our grief outside of ourselves, consider the meaning of life, and begin the long, hard process of coming to transcend our grief and move toward a new wholeness.
For thousands of years, funerals have been how we express our beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about the death of someone we love. The funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died. It allows us to say goodbye. It helps us remember the person who died and gives us a time and place to share those memories with others. It provides a social support system for everyone grieving the death. It gives us a focused time for us to think about the meaning of life and death. And it offers a sense of continuity and hope for the living
Funerals may be about the person who died, but they are for the living. A good funeral puts you on the path to good grief and healthy mourning.
“When words are inadequate, have a ritual.” — Author Unknown
Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events. Baptism celebrates the birth of a child and that child’s acceptance into the church family. Birthday parties honor the passing of another year in the life of someone we love. Weddings publicly affirm the private love shared by two people.
The funeral ritual, too, is a public, traditional and symbolic means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone loved. Rich in history and rife with symbolism, the funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture’s values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.
Article from Center from Loss and Life Transition- Dr. Alan Wolfelt