The reason that we want to plan a service – um, and call it what you like: a celebration of life, a memorial event, um, a funeral, a traditional funeral, a grave-site service – you know, there are so many terms out there, but the key element is to establish for a group of people a moment in time where we set aside everything that would demand our attention and we want to focus on what it means that this person is no longer with us. What was the significance of their life? We want to remember that, we want to connect with it. We want to reconnect with the history that is there.
We mark all other events. Births, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations. And we celebrate what’s happened so far and the accomplishments. That’s what a funeral does.
When people have no service, I really feel for them because they’ve tried to move on without really taking time and stock of what that person’s role was in their life.
I remember talking with a woman who had, who had planned, she’d actually planned a service. But it was with her adult children, and no one else. When I visited her several weeks later, she gently complained to me that her friends had kind of disappeared. And I reminded her of the kind of service that we had, which actually excluded her friends. And, in the process, helped her understand the significance of what could have been the kind of service that she could of had. Which would have communicated something other to her friends than, than what she actually did. She communicated to them, “I don’t need you.” Or, “I don’t want you for this part of my life. I want to do this on my own.” So I actually helped her plan another service. She sent out an invitation to all her closest friends, and she said, “I’m sorry I excluded you from the service. Please come to my house. I need you.” And they came.
It’s community, it’s reconnecting, it’s family and friends coming together.