When it comes to funeral planning, there are several different kinds of services you will need to consider. A wake, vigil, or visitation takes place prior to the funeral, offering loved ones a chance to gather (either in the presence of the deceased’s remains or not) to give their last respects. A funeral service is the formal ceremony that takes place at a church or funeral home with the body in attendance. A memorial service is similar in format, though it does not include the body and can thus be held anywhere, at any time. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘memorial’
When a loved one passes away, we often want to find something that honors their memory in a big way—and a scholarship fund is a good platform for doing just that. By providing a foundation for someone’s education, you are giving a gift that lasts an entire lifetime. And by making it part of a loved one’s legacy (by including their name on the scholarship or earmarking the funds for a field of study they were passionate about), you can ensure that their memory lives on in an important way. (more…)
When someone famous or beloved dies, it is common to have a special phrase or quote carved into the headstone. These engravings (or epitaphs) are a kind of parting gift to the world; more public than your last words and more permanent than a note written on paper, these messages are what people who visit your gravesite carry with them for years to come. (more…)
Although few people associate cemeteries and death with their ideal vacation plans, visiting local cemeteries is actually a popular tourist practice. Fusing history and nature, cemeteries have a way of capturing a city’s culture in ways that more traditional tourist sites do not—and because they are almost always free to the public, they provide a low-cost alternative to many kinds of national monuments, museums, and theme parks. (more…)
Mausoleums are one of the most iconic cemetery features. Known alternately as tombs, vaults, catacombs, and crypts, the term is used to describe any place of burial that stands as a separate building. They are often large enough to hold multiple bodies, and it is common for families to own their own mausoleums as a way to bury several generations in one location. (more…)
A funeral or memorial service is just the start of your bereavement process. Losing a loved one isn’t something you just “get over” or “recover from.” It’s a lifelong journey of finding ways to cope and enjoying the positive things that remain.
Funerals are a great way to kick start this grieving process, but they often leave a sense of emptiness behind. Once the funeral planning is done and the guests have departed, it’s time to begin finding your new path through life—often with only yourself to rely on.
For many, creating a memorial space at home is an ideal way to begin this journey of healing. In addition to allowing you a physical space to mourn (that’s not as far away as a cemetery), you may find comfort from having memories of the deceased so close by.
- Dedicate a space for the memorial. A mantelpiece is the most common location, but any niche or corner (or even a shelf on the bookcase) will do. A coffee table, a desk, or even an entire room you don’t use may also apply.
- Place an urn or photo in the space. If you had the deceased cremated, you can keep an urn of the ashes in the memorial space. If not, you can place a photograph or beloved item (shoes, a stuffed animal, a favorite hat, a trophy, an award medal, a wedding ring) in the center location. Anything that reminds you of the deceased and brings you joy will work.
- Consider flowers, decorations, and other commemorative items. There’s no rule about how many things you need to put in a memorial space, so feel free to include anything you feel is relevant to your relationship with your loved one. Some people also like to put up seasonal items (in much the same way you might place seasonal decorations at a grave site).
- Burn candles or make offerings. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may want to light special candles or burn incense. Aromatherapy candles can provide a double benefit if you choose soothing, healing scents that bring you personal comfort or remind you of the deceased. (Make sure you never leave anything on fire unattended.)
- Keep it up as long as you need. The great thing about a memorial space in your home is that you can keep it up year-round, and with the exception of an occasional dusting, you don’t need to do anything to maintain it.
The need for having a safe, physical space to mourn is why we have cemeteries and memorials in the first place. So much about death is intangible, and making a physical connection with those we have lost is difficult. A personal shrine or memorial space not only gives you more flexibility in your grief, but it allows you to personalize the process so that you can always feel connected.
It can often be difficult to come to terms with the death of a loved one, especially if the deceased was particularly young or their death was unexpected. Although things like viewing the body or having an open casket can help with the process of saying goodbye, it can sometimes take more than that one final goodbye in order to truly let go.
Funeral keepsakes—ones that provide a physical reminder of the deceased—offer a way to link the past and the present, and to start moving through grief. This type of memento may not be for everyone, but if you’d like to have a more tangible memory, talk with your funeral director to learn more about the following options.
- Thumbprints, Handprints, Footprints: For infants and very small children, a keepsake handprint or footprint can be turned into artwork for the home. Because it’s a fairly (more…)
Most people know how to behave at a funeral or a memorial service, when respect and reverence are called for in equal proportions, but cemeteries provide a trickier funeral etiquette question. After all, cemeteries are public places open to the entire community—not only as a place to mourn, but to visit relatives, research local history, enjoy the ambiance, and even go for a jog.
Most cemeteries have their formal rules posted near the gates, and you should always take a moment to read them for specific information about where you can go and when. It’s also a good idea to follow these general cemetery guidelines. (more…)
Sending a sympathy card to a family who has just experienced a loss is a kind and low-cost way to show your support. Because too many funeral flowers can be overwhelming—and because many people would rather not receive financial support or gift baskets—sympathy cards allow you to share your regrets without overwhelming the family.
Because of the nature of death and dying, most sympathy cards and the messages for sympathy cards are religious in nature. However, not every family appreciates spiritual sentiments at this time, or you yourself may be agnostic/atheist and don’t wish to send a religious card. (more…)