Just like at a wedding, you know, at a wedding there is the service and then there is the dinner, and then afterwards you actually get to visit and talk with people. It’s the same thing with the funeral.
People ask, “Why have a reception? It feels like, Gee, you are having this party after this, this abysmal or this stressful event.”
There is a, a saying goodbye that takes place in, in a structured Celebration of Life, Memorial event. And for that to come to a conclusion, there is a sense of completeness that happens there, and it begs the question of “What’s next?” Well, our life moves on. The sun sets and the sun rises again. There is tomorrow. And what do the new tomorrows look like? It’s at the reception where I see that best expressed for people. It’s about food, it’s about refreshments, it’s about nourishment, it’s about caring for ourselves, caring for each other in the context of ‘stories’, in the context of ‘love’, in the context of ‘we are here to support and encourage you for what’s ahead’. We know it’s hard. There’s nothing I can do fix things. But I am here.
That reception is now the time that’s a little bit more informal. People have food in their hands. They have a coffee in their hands. You are automatically – in our culture – you are automatically a little bit more relaxed and happy when, when you have that. And it, it really just allows people to come up and approach the family. It’s that one setting where it’s totally acceptable to come up to the family and share a story, you know, share a smile, share a hug.
The hugs, the tears. All of those things come out in the reception and it’s a healthy transition into that place of knowing that you’re gonna be looked after, you’re gonna have support, life will have to go on, it is gonna be different, but you’re gonna make it.
I encourage people for there to be little mini receptions all the time. Stay connected. Stay involved in the lives of people who have lost a loved one. Cause it’s hard. It’s a journey moving forward.