Reasons to Delay a Funeral
Most funeral experts recommend that a funeral should take place as soon after death as possible—usually within a week or so. Not only is this necessary when you’re talking about the disposal of human remains (when burial is the choice), but immediate services can help with the process of grieving.
Of course, there is no rule that says you have to hold a funeral right away. With so many different cremation options and memorial services taking place off site, you can wait weeks, months, or even years before holding a funeral. Here are just a few reasons why more and more families are choosing to wait.
- Delay for a Specific Date: If the deceased loved his or her lake cabin, why not wait until summer and hold a memorial service and ash scattering ceremony there? If there’s a specific anniversary or holiday that means something to you, why not combine your annual celebration with the funeral? There is already so much meaning in the specific dates in our lives that adding to it can only strengthen our memories.
- Waiting for Guests: The quick turnaround of most funerals means that it can be difficult to gather the whole family together. Delaying the funeral for a few weeks can give guests more time to arrange their travel and work schedules.
- Letting News/Media Settle: High-profile deaths can be particularly painful for a family—especially if a funeral is being held in a public place. Having protesters or a large number of curious (but not grieving) onlookers can seriously impair a family’s ability to mourn properly. In some cases, delaying a funeral can help provide enough time for the media to settle down so you can grieve in private.
- Time to Reflect: Not every relationship is in a good place when someone dies. Maybe you need to time to reflect on the deceased before you’re prepared to say goodbye. Maybe there are lingering estate and financial affairs to be settled first. It’s okay to take a little time to organize your thoughts…as long as other family members aren’t suffering in the meantime.
- The Money is not There: Funerals are expensive—no doubt about it. If you want to give your loved one a proper send off, but aren’t quite prepared to do it financially yet, you may want to consider a direct cremation for now and save the fanfare for later. This is especially helpful if the deceased did not do any advance funeral planning and the funeral costs are left up to you.
As funerals become less traditional and more personalized, delaying the service will most likely be more common than in years past. Death is rarely convenient and almost always a blow to the system, so being able to say goodbye according to your own schedule can be a great way to come to terms with your loss.
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One of the leading sources for good, factual funeral information is the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), which is the world's leading funeral service association at almost 20,000 members nationwide. Although most individuals going th... more »
By Amy Johnson