Friday, September 28, 2007

The Ring Ceremony

This past year my grandfather a man of great ambition, many accomplishments and a selfless man passed away. I being a Funeral Director with what I feel is a progressive mindset, wanted to make his passing a meaningful experience. I wanted the event of his death and funeral to be remembered by all in attendance at his committal service for many years to come.

My grandmother. Kathleen had passed away a couple years earlier and they (grandmother and grandfather) were now going to be joined together at their final place of rest. Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Huntington, West Virginia.

Oftentimes, the funeral is viewed as a sad and ritualistic occasion that is both dreaded and avoided by many which oftentimes include family and close friends.

I wanted to offer those in attendance "an experience" something different, not the norm. This particular ceremony was only a portion of what we planned that was to be different to create "an experience" that we would all remember the rest of our lives.

My goal was that nobody would leave the cemetery completely devastated or sad-hearted. I wanted them to walk away as being part of an experience that had meaning and offered a true sense of comfort in the life lived.

After the clergy completed their portion of the committal service we started the what I coined "Committal Ring Ceremony". This ceremony would bring a great deal of involvement and peace to the family as well as friends who were in attendance. (see below)

Committal Ring Ceremony
On January 19, 1946, Charles and Kathleen were united in marriage which spanned 59 wonderful years. On May 21, 2005, Kathleen departed this life leaving a void in the heart and life of Charles and her entire family. For centuries, the ring has been used in marriage signifying the union of two individuals becoming as one. Today, we are honored guests and witnesses for the reuniting and the reunion of Charles and Kathleen. These two rings that I now hold have been separated and will now be rejoined together as one which symbolizes that Charles and Kathleen are once again reunited and joined together as one. The joined rings will now be placed on his casket as a visible token of this reunion.

…Prayer - Then everyone in attendance would receive a Red Rose from the casket floral arrangment

Honoring the lives of our loved ones is not a task, duty or obligation it is an honor. An honor that has been bestowed on you the family member. We must always remember that if we fail to honor our loved ones appropriately then a tradition of “no-need-to-honor” the dead will continue to be passed down and at some point in life and then our death, we will be forgotten because nobody remembered or honored you for your life lived. We as survivors have an awesome responsibility to honor our loved ones after their death and be certain to pass this tradition on to our children, grandchildren, etc. Honoring the dead and talking about them is also a healthy and therapeutic form of healing. Fred

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